Beckie Takes A Step Closer To Gold

FasterSkierOctober 21, 2003

CALGARY, October 21, 2003 — The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), Cross Country Canada (CCC), members of the Canadian sport community and hundreds of cheering supporters joined together at CODA’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary today to celebrate cross-country skier Beckie Scott’s upgrade to an Olympic silver medal.

“I'm extremely honoured that this special event was organized in Canada for my second Olympic medal ceremony,” said Scott. “This is a tremendous opportunity for all Canadians to celebrate this sporting achievement again. I appreciate the efforts put forth by the Canadian Olympic Committee throughout the trials of the past two years and by Cross Country Canada in organizing today's celebration.”

The event, hosted by CCC in partnership with the COC and CODA, celebrated Scott’s move from the bronze to the silver medal position in the official results of the 5km free pursuit at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

“The COC is proud to stand beside Beckie as she receives long-overdue recognition for her exceptional performance in Salt Lake City,” said COC President Michael Chambers. “Today’s silver medal is a step in the right direction, but we will continue to hope for golden news, which we feel she rightfully deserves.”

Originally, two Russian skiers, Olga Danilova and Larissa Lazutina, had been awarded the gold and silver respectively in the 5km free pursuit. Immediately after the Games, the COC filed an appeal on behalf of Scott in response to the fact that Danilova and Lazutina were expelled from the Games following a positive test result for a banned substance in their February 21,2002 doping sample, but were permitted to retain their medals from the 5km free pursuit race on February 15.

Scott was subsequently awarded the silver medal in June 2003 when the International Olympic Committee stripped Lazutina of her 2002 Olympic results because of a positive sample taken prior to the Olympic Games, the results of which were only discovered after the Games. However, Danilova was permitted to retain her gold medal despite failing her February 21, 2002 drug test.

On September 9, 2003, the COC presented an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport contending that any Olympian whose conduct justifies expulsion from the Olympic Games should lose all medals awarded at those Games. The Court’s decision, which will determine whether Scott becomes North America’s first cross-country Olympic champion, is expected sometime after the end of October.

“Cross Country Canada has made some headway in our struggles to make sport clean, but the fight against doping is not over,” said Léopold Nadeau, President of Cross Country Canada. “Beckie has become an international hero and an icon for fair play. It is gratifying to know that this Olympic silver medal is a pure medal. This is Canada’s first step towards more podium finishes in Vancouver 2010.”

Today’s Olympic celebration in Calgary included a full day of festivities, featuring an autograph session with Scott and other members of the Canadian Cross Country Ski Team, live music by the Royal Canadian Artillery Band and a fly pass of a CF-18 Hornet aircraft from the 416 Tactical Fighter Squadron in Cold Lake, Alberta. The highlight of the event was the silver medal presentation to Scott by Canadian IOC member Charmaine Crooks, Paul DeVillers, Secretary of State for Physical Activity and Sport, and Chambers.

The COC, a private, not-for-profit corporation, is the largest private funder of high-performance sport in Canada. It is responsible for all aspects of Canada’s involvement in the Olympic movement, including Canada’s participation in the Olympic and Pan American Games. In addition, the COC manages a wide variety of programs that promote the Olympic movement in Canada through cultural and educational means.

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Chris Dornan

Media and Public Relations

Cross Country Canada

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