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U.S. skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender could get bronze medal from Sochi Games

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Team USA skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender Team USA skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender
COLORADO SPRINGS -

Team USA skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender is now in line for her first Olympic medal. 

It's after Elena Nikitina and other Russian athletes were stripped of their 2014 Sochi medals for doping. It's a ruling that came down last week. 

"The Russians have been stripped. They're banned for life. You are now an Olympic bronze medalist." 

That's what Uhlaender's head coach, Tuffy Latour, told her on the phone this past Wednesday. 

'"My first response was "Tuffy, this was a team effort. This is for us," and then I got emotional and started crying."'

For Uhlaender, the news is a big deal, but not because of the medal she could soon get. 

"It's a huge relief mostly...from my perspective, having Nikitina still race and having just won the Park City race, I just kept thinking she's going to steal someone else's moment or even mine again." 

That moment was in 2014 during the Sochi Winter Games. Uhlaender took fourth while Russian athlete Elena Nikitina got the bronze, a medal that could now be given to Uhlaender. Nikitina was stripped of hers following a doping investigation. 

"This to me is a huge step...I commend the IOC for taking a stand and doing something." 

It's a moment she wish she could share with her best friend and fellow teammate Steve Holcomb. He passed away earlier this year. 

"I wouldn't have gotten the call from Tuffy. It would've been a [Uhlaender pounds on her chair in a knocking motion] from Holcomb because he was so passionate and just fired up about it."

While missing her best friend, Uhlaender is honoring Holcomb by training hard for the 2018 South Korea Games. 

When asked if she'll be on the podium come February: "I don't know. You tell me. Life is so unpredictable. That's the thing I'm learning is the results aren't something I should be focusing on. If I can focus on being at my absolute best I'm praying that's enough...now I'm not chasing a medal. I'm chasing my moment."

Due to an appeals process with the Russian athletes it's unclear when exactly Uhlaender could get the bronze medal. 

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