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50 years later, American skaters get their bronze medals

Vivian and Ronald Joseph get official word that they won the bronze back in 1966 after decades of confusion

It took more than five decades, but figure skaters Vivian and Ronald Joseph are finally -- officially -- Olympic bronze medalists.

The brother-sister pairs team had to wait through years of conflicting rulings and utter confusion.

"An Olympic medal is the ultimate sports symbol of hard work, sacrifice and the perseverance of athletes, parents and coaches," they said in a joint statement released by U.S. Figure Skating. "We are happy the issue of our medal has finally been resolved."

Back in 1964, the Josephs finished fourth at the Innsbruck Winter Games, only to be shifted to third when officials discovered the second-place German pair had violated their amateur status by previously signing a professional contract.

The International Olympic Committee awarded the Josephs their medals in 1966, then issued another ruling in 1987, deciding the German pair had been "rehabilitated" and restored to second.

No one knew quite what that meant for the Josephs and a Canadian team that had been given silver medals.

This week, the IOC settled matters by officially awarding silvers to both the Germans and Canadians, keeping the Americans in third.

"After more than two decades of confusion, we are pleased to see Vivian and Ronald Joseph as the rightful Olympic bronze medalists," said David Raith, executive director of U.S. Figure Skating. "We respect the way the Josephs have handled this issue, knowing that this confusion has caused them much heartache and frustration."

 

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