Canadian weightlifter gets 2012 Olympic gold after top 2 stripped of medals
Original winners at London Games from Kazakhstan and Russia were found to have been doping
Canadian weightlifter Christine Girard can finally call herself an Olympic champion.
The International Olympic Committee made it official Thursday, declaring that Girard will be awarded the gold medal in the 63-kilogram weight class from the 2012 Summer Games.
Girard, who grew up in Rouyn-Noranda, Que., became the first Canadian woman to win a weightlifting medal when she finished third at the London Games.
Girard was initially awarded bronze but after the IOC ordered retesting of more than 1500 urine samples from Beijing 2008 and London 2012, the samples from two athletes who placed ahead of Girard, Maiya Maneza of Kazakhstan and Svetlana Tsarukaeva of Russia, were found positive for doping.
They were disqualified losing their placings and medals. The IOC has said their samples contained evidence of steroids.
"I never doubted for a moment, that I did all that I could do to win that gold medal," said Girard.
"To have my efforts and those of my trainers, family and supporters validated, means the world to me, even if it is after six long years. This gold medal is a testament to clean sport. It means even more to me now, than had I heard O Canada played that day in London."
Canadian Olympic Committee president Tricia Smith was pleased to hear the news.
"Congratulations to Christine for this spectacular achievement. She is a weightlifting trailblazer in so many ways and we are extremely proud of her," said Smith in a press release.
"Christine has always lived the values of sport and of competing clean. We are so pleased to see her finally receive the Olympic gold medal which she has so rightfully earned. We will consult with Christine and the IOC to ensure her well-deserved and long-awaited celebration."
A medal ceremony for Girard will be held at a later date.
Decisions at a glacial pace
With a total of 236 kilograms, Girard finished just behind Tsarukaeva's 237 in London. Maneza's total of 245 was an Olympic record before she was stripped of it.
The IOC stores doping samples for 10 years. More than 1,500 samples from Beijing and London were re-tested.
A total of 65 sanctions involving 40 medals were imposed from the Beijing Games, and 45 sanctions impacting 20 medals in London, according to the IOC.
Appeals, and the time it takes for international and domestic sports federations to deal with the stripping of a medal, means a medal redistribution can move at a glacial pace.
Canadian shot-putter Dylan Armstrong received a bronze medal from Beijing over six years after finishing fourth there. Canadian cross-country skier Beckie Scott had two separate ceremonies months apart upgrading her 2002 Olympic bronze to silver and then to gold.
With files from CBC Sports