Track and Field

Canadian men's 4x100m Olympic team bumped up to silver as Brits DQ'ed for doping

The Canadian men's 4x100-metre relay team at Tokyo 2020 was upgraded to silver on Thursday as Great Britain, which placed second in the event, was asked to return its medals following sprinter C.J. Ujah's doping violation.

British Olympic Association told to return medals, to be redistributed to Canada

Canada's Andre De Grasse, Brendon Rodney, Aaron Brown and Jerome Blake celebrate after winning bronze in the men's 4x100 metres at the Tokyo Olympics. The quartet was upgraded to silver on Thursday as Great Britain was disqualified for doping. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Eight months after the Tokyo Olympics, Canada is adding one more silver medal to its tally.

The Canadian men's 4x100-metre relay team was upgraded to silver on Thursday as Great Britain, which placed second in the event, was told to return its medals following sprinter CJ Ujah's doping violation.

"We're happy the 4x100 metre athletes will be receiving the medal they earned, and we know their performance inspired many during the difficult second summer of the pandemic," Eric Myles, chief sport officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee, said in a statement to The Canadian Press.

"Though the anti-doping process worked, it's disappointing that we're still seeing doping cases robbing athletes of their moment at Games.

"We haven't received a timeline for awarding the silver medals yet."

Ujah and the British squad placed just 1/100th of a second behind champion Italy (35.5 seconds). Canada, featuring Andre De Grasse, Brendon Rodney, Aaron Brown and Jerome Blake in the final, took bronze in 37.70 seconds.

A sample taken from Ujah after the race was found to contain the prohibited substances ostarine and S-23, which are muscle-building selective androgen receptor modulators. Ujah's claim that he unknowingly ingested the substance was later rejected.

Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake competed alongside Ujah.

"It is with real sadness that we have had to ask for the medals, certificates and pins back, especially for the three athletes who have been affected through no fault of their own," Andy Anson, CEO of the British Olympic Association said. "However, this is the [Court of Arbitration for Sport] ruling and we must abide by it, just as we have been clear that must happen to other nations whose athletes have broken doping rules."

Seventh silver for Canada in Tokyo

China, which placed fourth in the event, is expected to be upgraded to bronze.

Along with seven gold medals, Canada can now claim seven silver medals and 10 bronze from Tokyo 2020, for a total of 24 podium appearances.

It becomes the second silver medal of De Grasse's Olympic career, and the Scarborough, Ont., native now owns a medal of each colour from Tokyo. He also won 200m gold and 100m bronze.

Britain has only twice previously been stripped of Olympic medals — both bronze. Judoka Kerrith Brown produced a positive for a diuretic at the 1988 Seoul Games — after claiming to be unaware the substance was prohibited — and a banned stimulant methamphetamine was detected in skier Alain Baxter's sample at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games after he used a nasal inhaler.

The process for upgrading medals after a doping violation can be painstaking.

Canadian Dylan Armstrong finished fourth in shot put at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and so never climbed the Olympic medal podium. Years later, he was upgraded to bronze after Andrei Mikhnevich of Belarus was disqualified for doping.

Armstrong finally received his medal — Canada's first in shot put at an Olympics — at a ceremony in his hometown of Kamloops, B.C., in 2015, seven years after the actual competition.

With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press

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