American skating team claims Olympics bronze - after 50 years

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Fifty years after Vivian Joseph and Ronald Joseph skated at the Innsbruck Olympics, the American pair on Tuesday officially claimed the bronze medal.

Two years after the 1964 Games, the International Olympic Committee had awarded the Joseph siblings the bronze medal after disclosing that the West German pairs team had violated their amateur status by signing a professional contract.

Canadians Debbi Wilkes and Guy Revell moved up one spot to the silver medal, while the Josephs, who had finished fourth in the competition, claimed bronze.

But in 1987, the IOC said Germans Marika Kilius and Hans-Jürgen Bäumler were "rehabilitated" and quietly re-awarded their silver medals. The IOC never explained the medal consequences of its decision.

On Tuesday, the IOC announced that the Germans and Canadians are each silver-medal winners, while the Americans are the bronze medallists in the pairs event.

"An Olympic medal is the ultimate sports symbol of hard work, sacrifice and the perseverance of athletes, parents and coaches," Vivian and Ronald Joseph said in a statement.

"We are happy the issue of our medal has finally been resolved."

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