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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey’s Boze Corn Maze set to open with one big ‘50’ in the design

This year’s maze has some ‘social-distancing bubbles’ built into it, says farmer Mike Bose

Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society doing ‘better than we were expecting’ amid COVID-19

At one point, the board thought it might have a donation shortfall of $250,000

Delta police investigating shots fired in Tsawwassen

No injuries reported after police called to Parkrove Crescent Sunday afternoon (Aug. 9)

South Surrey teen launches non-profit to open opportunities for debate

Lucinda Gullison says the art of debate has many benefits

South Surrey boy’s lemonade stand raises $670 for baby Lucy on BC Day weekend

Zach Young, 6, wanted to help with purchase of Vancouver infant’s costly drug ‘to help her get better’

Canada to match donations to Lebanon relief

Canada is directing all of its aid for this crisis directly to humanitarian organizations, not the Lebanese government

Who can dismiss the Governor General? A look at protocols and possibilities

The Governor General is appointed by the Queen, on the advice of the prime minister

Second phase of NHL draft lottery set for Monday

Each club eliminated from qualifying round has a 12.5 per cent shot at the No. 1 pick

University of Victoria, rowing coach sued over alleged ‘fat shaming’ and verbal abuse

Lawsuit says Barney Williams subjected coxswain Lily Copeland to offensive and belittling language

NHL playoffs: Canucks to meet St. Louis Blues in Round 1

Vancouver takes on defending champs beginning Wednesday

Fraser Valley Bandits fall to Edmonton in CEBL final

Bandits lose 90-73 to Stingers in Sunday’s Summer Series final

1 year since a B.C. teen died in a skate park, his family still waiting for charges

Carson Crimeni’s final moments were broadcast on social media

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Most Read