BITTER-SWEET T&T officially upgraded to Olympic 4x1 silver
Friday, 03 July 2015 12:27
It's official! The 2012 Olympic Games men's 4x100 metres silver medal goes to Trinidad and Tobago.
"This is bitter-sweet," anchorman Richard "Torpedo" Thompson told the Express, yesterday. "We live for a moment and not necessarily a monetary award. We work hard to cross the line, hold up the national flag, stand on the podium and be happy in that moment we worked so hard for. We were deprived of that opportunity."
Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Thompson have been upgraded from bronze to silver because of American Tyson Gay's doping infraction.
Gay was handed a one-year ban after testing positive for an anabolic steroid in 2013. His results, starting from July 15, 2012, were annulled. Gay was part of the United States team that finished second to Jamaica in the Olympic 4x100m final on August 11.
Seven weeks ago, the IOC stripped the Americans of the silver medal, clearing the way for the T&T upgrade.
"If the system was 100 per cent efficient," said Thompson, "Gay would have gotten a two-year ban, and Justin Gatlin would not be running anymore. There are flaws in the system, and Gay should not have been rewarded for cooperating. He should do that anyway. Gatlin failed two tests, and should have been banned for life."
The upgrade to Olympic silver is T&T's second. Thompson was the fourth sprinter past the finish line in the 2012 Olympic final. However, third-placed Canada were disqualified for a lane violation, and bronze was awarded to the T&T quartet in 38.12 seconds.
At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, the same T&T sprint relay quartet earned silver.
"Crossing the line second in Beijing was far more significant than the weird series of events that played out in London. It's not necessarily the way you want to win a medal, but we're thankful. Hopefully, next time we'll win gold on the track. That's what we're shooting for at the Rio Games next year."
In a press release, yesterday, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president, Brian Lewis said his organisation "received official confirmation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the London 2012 men's 4x100 sprint relay team will be reallocated the silver medal.
"The TTOC," the release continued, "is required to return the bronze medals, diplomas and pins by 18th July 2015. The TTOC will work with the athletes to ensure the IOC deadline is met."
France originally finished fifth in the final, but can now boast of bronze.
T&T's London 2012 medal haul has improved to one gold, one silver and two bronze medals—the country's best ever Olympic showing. And "Torpedo" Thompson is now a triple Olympic silver medallist.
"That rolls off the tongue a little better. It's something I'm proud of. I've worked hard for moments like that, and making four Olympic finals is big for me as well. But I want more. When I stepped onto the world stage in 2008, Ato Boldon was the benchmark for me. He has four individual Olympic medals. I want to emulate some of what Ato achieved individually."
Thompson has been struggling with a knee injury this season, and has called off his 2015 campaign. Last Saturday, he reached the NGC-Sagicor National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) Open Track and Field Championship men's 100m final, but opted out of the championship race.
"Calling off 2015 and missing Worlds was a hard decision. Coming into Senior Champs, I was doing everything possible to try to get back to 100 per cent, but I had no work on the track for close to two months. No excuses, but my fitness was not there.
"These things happen in sport, and sometimes setbacks are blessings in disguise. I had to take a smart and mature decision pushing towards Rio 2016. I didn't want to jeopardise my ability to make a significant contribution to the country at the Olympics."