Olympian Christine Girard shows off her two two medals received Monday morning in Ottawa – a 2012 gold and a 2008 bronze. (Canadian Olympic Committee photo)

VIDEO: Semiahmoo Peninsula Olympian Christine Girard receives long-delayed medals

Olympian in Ottawa this morning to be given gold medal from 2012 Games, bronze from ‘08

Six years ago in London, Christine Girard was robbed of a chance to stand atop an Olympic podium with a gold medal draped around her neck and the Canadian national anthem playing in the background.

On Monday morning in Ottawa, the Semiahmoo Peninsula Olympian was finally given her due – upgrading her 2012 weightlifting bronze medal to a gold, while also officially receiving her bronze medal from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Better late than never.

Both medals came about after the athletes who finished above her were busted for doping infractions.

Girard learned back in April that her bronze medal from the 2012 Summer Olympics in London – won in the women’s 63-kg division – was officially upgraded to gold after the two finishers ahead of her on the podium, Kazakhstan’s Maiya Maneza and Russia’s Svetlana Tsurukaeva, respectively – were discovered to have tested positive for banned substances, leaving Girard as the only clean athlete left from the original trio of podium finishes.

Prior to that news, Girard’s fourth-place finish from the 2008 Olympics had already been bumped to bronze – again, due to doping of athletes ahead of her – but she had never actually received the medal.

During Monday’s ceremony, Tricia Smith, the president of the Canadian Olympic Committee, lauded Girard for her “tenacity” and “integrity” and said her medal wins, albeit late, were an example that the “values of our country are being celebrated.”

“Christine has shown incredible strength and perseverance throughout her long career, always competing with integrity and grace. We are so pleased to see her receive the Olympic medals which she has so rightfully earned. She is an inspiring embodiment of the Olympic values and fair and clean sport,” Smith said in a news release Monday morning.

At the 2012 Olympics in London – at which time she had not yet been awarded her 2008 bronze – Girard’s bronze medal was considered a watershed moment for Canadian weightlifting, as she was the first Canadian woman to ever win an Olympic medal in the sport.

In the years since – and especially once her competitors began being cited for doping violations – Girard, who is originally from Rouyn-Noranda, Que., has become an outspoken critic of doping in sports, as well as an advocate for getting young girls involved in weightlifting.

In a first-person account penned for the Canadian Olympic Team’s official website (www.olympic.ca), Girard wrote:

“Obviously, I wasn’t able to celebrate in the moment at the Games and many people were upset for me. ‘You lost your moment!’ No one can give you back what you should (have) had years ago!’ And they are right. I missed out on a lot of things – support, publicity, and money, to name a few.

“Perhaps most importantly, I missed out on the opportunity to showcase weightlifting to Canadians and break stereotypes; to show young girls that it’s okay to want to be strong, that it’s possible and it’s great to be powerful and tenacious.

“But there’s no point thinking about the what ifs. What I gained is much more meaningful.”

At Monday’s event, Girard was led into the room – which was filled with family, friends and supporters – by an RCMP member in Red Serge, a choir sang, and she received her medals while standing atop a podium. Afterwards, she conducted an interview on stage in both English and French, and also posed for a photo on the podium with her three children.

The ceremony was streamed live online by CBC.

In both her on-stage interview and in a news release, Girard took the opportunity to again promote anti-doping initiatives and her quest for weightlifting to become a “clean” sport.

“I want to celebrate this moment with all Canadians as it is a victory of our values. I want people to understand that regardless of your gender or sport, with hard work, determination and a little bit of patience, your dreams are within reach.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout my journey including my family, friends, coaches and most of all to my country for continuing to believe in promoting equal and clean sport for all.”

www.peacearchnews.com

Just Posted

VIDEO: British couple vacationing detained after ‘accidentally’ crossing Langley-Lynden border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

‘Coffee with Cops’ visits Cloverdale

Surrey RCMP Wendy Mehat says there is always a good response from the public for the informal chat sessions

Man charged in South Surrey torched-SUV killing granted bail

Harjot Singh Deo, arrested in May, was released from custody last week

Surrey’s top cop Dwayne McDonald is moving on

McDonald’s new role is RCMP’s criminal operations officer in charge of federal, investigative services and organized crime for B.C.

Overdose deaths down in Surrey, but more than two people still dying a week

As of the end of August, 86 people died by illicit drug overdose in Surrey, which is a drop from 2018

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

Conservative Andrew Scheer vows to cut bottom bracket, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh targets wealth tax

Man who orchestrated Mission murders gets day parole after serving less than three years

Victims’ parents express grief, outrage over parole board decision

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Frustration and pride in Canada after a year of legal pot

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

West Kelowna business facing charges after six bears killed over littering

A West Kelowna business has been charged for leaving garbage around Lake Okanagan Resort

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

Most Read