The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) is thrilled to join cross-country skier Beckie Scott and Cross Country Canada to celebrate today’s decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which orders the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to award Scott the gold medal for the 5km free pursuit at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. The CAS further ordered that the IOC Executive Board make the decision to award the medal by March 15, 2004.

The Switzerland-based CAS ruled that the decision made by the IOC Executive Board on February 24, 2002 to exclude Russian Olga Danilova from the 2002 Olympic Winter Games should have disqualified her from all the races in which she participated during the Games and the withdrawal of all medals won in those races. In June of this year, the IOC removed all medals from Russian skier Larissa Lazutina because of positive drug test results prior to the Games, giving Scott the silver medal, which she was awarded at a special ceremony at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary last month. Danilova had originally been awarded the gold, Lazutina the silver and Scott the bronze medal in the 5 km free pursuit.

“This is quite an emotional day. What an amazing Christmas present,” said Scott, who has become an international crusader and spokesperson for drug-free sport. “I want to thank the COC and Michael Chambers in particular for fighting this appeal on my behalf and for supporting me throughout this entire process. I also want to acknowledge the ongoing support of Cross Country Canada. It’s gratifying to know this decision supports athletes who compete in the spirit of the Olympic Charter, and I hope the strength of this victory resonates throughout sport.”

“The COC is thrilled, proud and honoured to stand beside Beckie as she receives her long-overdue and well-deserved recognition for her hard-earned gold medal performance in Salt Lake City,” said COC President Michael Chambers, who worked with lawyer Bruce Carr-Harris on Scott’s appeal presented September 9 at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland. “Beckie is a true Olympic champion who has earned this medal through fierce determination and an unwavering commitment to excellence. This is a victory for all athletes who believe in fair play and drug free sport, and who demonstrate an ongoing dedication to the Olympic values.”

Immediately after the Salt Lake City Games, the COC assembled an appeal on behalf of Scott in response to the fact that Danilova and Lazutina were expelled from the Olympic Games following their February 24 race, but were permitted to retain their medals from the 5 km pursuit race on February 15. The appeal was made to the CAS contending that any Olympian who is expelled from the Games should lose all medals awarded at those Games. The Norwegian Olympic Committee filed a similar appeal on behalf of six Norwegian athletes, which was also upheld by the court.