Medals for Goldie Sayers, Anita Wlodarczyk. (IOC)
(ATR) At the WADA conference and on the Olympic Channel, athletes cherish medals awarded years after the Games.
Two Olympians with medals awarded post-Games told their stories Wednesday at the World Conference on Doping in Sport being held in Katowice, Poland.
British javelin thrower Goldie Sayers and Polish hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk took the stage Wednesday morning, prime examples of the impact of WADA on the lives of athletes.
Sayers received a bronze medal from Beijing 2008 after the original finisher was disqualified. Competing in her third Olympics, Sayers learned only in 2016 that she would be upgraded to the bronze medal. She received the medal in a ceremony in July this year, 11 years after Beijing.
“When I was being presented with the medal in London, I stood at the back of the podium and said to myself ‘just take it all in, take it all in’, and then I got really, really emotional. Receiving my medal the way I did was, of course, not how I dreamed it would be, but it is important that athletes receive justice, no matter how long that takes,” she told the conference.
Wlodarczyk is considered the all-time great in the hammerthrow. She is the defending gold medalist from Rio 2016 and London 2012. Originally the silver medalist in 2012, Wlodarczyk took a step up the podium with the doping dq of the purported gold medalist.
As seen in the Olympic Channel series, Goldie Sayers presented with her gold medal in July by Craig Reedie, IOC member and WADA President.
“At the time, in 2012, when I came second at the London Olympics, I was very happy because my biggest dream was to win an Olympic medal. I remember every detail of the ceremony and I was very proud to win a medal for Poland. But five years later, I received the news that the athlete who came first was caught for doping through re-testing.The IOC informed me of the official decision and asked me where and when I would like to receive the gold,” she explained.
Wlodarczyk was awarded her medal at a gala this year for the centenary of the Polish Olympic Committee.
The options followed by Wlodarczyk and Sayers are two of the six ways the IOC approved in 2018. With the growing number of medals stripped due to re-testing of samples years after the Olympics, order was needed to the process of reallocation.
Dignity too. One U.S. athlete says he was unceremoniously presented with his re-awarded gold medal in the food court of the Atlanta airport, nine years after the Athens Olympics.
The WADA Conference in Katowice. (WADA)
The options for re-awarding medals range from public to private, at the discretion of the athlete, says an IOC release:
“at the next edition of the Olympic Games; at the Youth Olympic Games; at the IOC headquarters or The Olympic Museum; at an event of their International Sports Federation; at an event of their National Olympic Committee; or at a private ceremony.”
IOC Athletes Commission and WADA Foundation Board member Danka Bartekova emceed the presentation.
There’s more on athletes receiving medals long after the Games from the Olympic Channel. Premiering today is a new six episode series Take The Podium. The series profiles the athletes from their Olympic competition to the awarding of medals years afterwards.
Lithuanian heptathlete Austra Skujyte, Canadian weightlifter Christine Girard and the men’s 4X100 relay team from Japan are among the athletes included in the series.
The WADA conference ends Thursday with the election of a new president. Polish minister of sport Witold Banka is expected to be elected. He'll begin his term Jan. 1.
Reported by Ed Hula.
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