Beckie Scott receives 2002 Olympic gold medal in Vancouver ceremony

Beckie Scott receives 2002 Olympic gold medal in Vancouver ceremony{mosimage}Canadian Beckie Scott officially became the first North American woman to collect an Olympic or world championship gold medal in cross country skiing Friday. In an emotional presentation ceremony, she received the medal for her performance in the pursuit race at the 2002 Olympics in Utah.

“In some ways, I’m still in disbelief that it’s actually here. It’s been a long journey but one that’s culminated in the ultimate reward,” Scott, who married U.S. three-time Olympic skier Justin Wadsworth a year ago, told the midday crowd at the Vancouver Art Gallery. She and Wadsworth live in Bend, Oregon; Scott has not said whether she would compete this season.

She finished third at the Olympics, but after drug tests showed Russian skiers Olga Danilova and Larissa Lazhutina, who finished ahead of her, had used a banned performance-enhancing drug, darbopoetin, Canadian and Norwegian Olympic officials led the fight to have the results overturned. Scott, 29, eventually was declared the champion.

Lazhutina was stripped of her medal last summer and Scott moved up to silver medalist. The two Russians appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which rejected their arguments; Scott was notified just before Christmas – while the World Cup tour was in Ramsau, Austria – that the Inernational Olympic Committee had ruled she was the pursuit champion.

More than a dozen Canadian Olympians were on hand for the ceremony where Charmaine Crooks, an IOC member from Canada, made the formal presentation. “This is a real victory for athletes that fight for a doping-free sport,” Crooks said, calling Scott “a class act.” has posted excellent photos from the ceremony at their website. To view them, click here:

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