Internet InfoMedia how the wait for olympic medals became an endurance sport
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Doping rules, legal challenges and endless appeals have left some medalists waiting (and waiting) for their golds.

It took Lashinda Demus of the United States 52.77 seconds to run the women’s 400-meter hurdles at the 2012 London Olympics. It took more than a decade for her to be upgraded to first place from second. A year after that decision, and 12 years after the race, she is still waiting to receive her gold medal.

One of her American teammates, Erik Kynard Jr., competed in the high jump at the London Games. Like Demus, he was beaten by a Russian athlete later found guilty of doping. And like Demus, he had to wait many years before being named the victor. He, too, has never touched his gold medal.

Demus and Kynard are expected to finally receive their medals this summer during the Paris Olympics, according to officials at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee. The details are still being ironed out; officials hope a resolution could come soon.

But for nine American figure skaters who in January were elevated to first place in the team competition nearly two years after the end of the 2022 Beijing Olympics, the wait continues: The Russian team that finished ahead of them in Beijing, and later became embroiled in a doping case, has filed multiple appeals challenging the loss of its gold medals. That could mean months, at least, of new legal battles.

All three cases have highlighted longstanding concerns about the inability of international sports officials to balance the imperatives of clean sport and fair play with providing justice to deserving athletes in a timely manner. The reasons are varied — vulnerabilities in testing; a lack of uniform international commitment in the antidoping system; an often lengthy appeals process — but the consequences are personal.

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