media_artricles :: 2018
Olympic gold for Christmas
Medal bonus hinted as TT 2008 relay men upgradedStephon Nicholas :: Newsday :: 08.12.2018
CHRISTMAS came early for this country's 2008 men's 4x100m relay team who were officially awarded gold medals by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) yesterday. Collecting gold retroactively will be Richard Thompson, Marc Burns, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender and Aaron Armstrong. Brian Lewis, president of the TT Olympic Committee, received the correspondence from the IOC yesterday and was understandably elated as the development took TT closer to his goal of 24 Olympic gold medals by 2024.
The TT quartet, who placed second in the Beijing final in 38.06 seconds, has been upgraded after the victorious Jamaicans were stripped of gold for a doping violation by one of their sprinters. Nesta Carter, who ran the opening leg of the 2008 final for Jamaica, was eventually found guilty last year of using a banned substance, resulting in him and his 2008 teammates – including sprint legend Usain Bolt – losing their medals.
The TT athletes have been asked to return their silver medals, silver pins and second place diplomas to the IOC by January 7 to begin the reallocation process.
As per the new IOC medal reallocation policy, the TT relay men have been given options on how they wish to receive their new gold medals.
One of the available options will be a medal presentation at the next Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 with the IOC bearing the cost of the athletes and two guests being flown to the Games. Other choices include a ceremony at the next IAAF World Championship or Continental Championship; a presentation at the next major TTOC event – a National Championship, sport awards or gala; or a private ceremony in coordination with the TTOC.
The TTOC is currently liaising with the athletes to get feedback on their intentions.
Speaking to Newsday yesterday, Lewis lauded the IOC for implementing a medal reallocation ceremony. "It does not make up for not hearing your national anthem or seeing your country's flag raised (in the moment but)...they've done the best in the circumstance," he said.
Lewis added, "We had to be patient and respect the IOC's process. It's been ten years and a long time for justice to prevail. We are certain the athletes concerned have gone through a lot. It speaks to the commitment of athletes of Team TTO to compete clean," he said.
What does Olympic gold mean for the country?
"It's a measure of happiness and joy for athletes and TT. We now have three Olympic gold medals," Lewis declared.
The TTOC noted that although did not implement a medal bonus policy until 2013, he believes Thompson and the other 2008 relay champions should be compensated for their success.
"We will have a conversation and discussion on it. We have a TTOC executive meeting next week Wednesday and I intend to take a proposal to give the members listed by the IOC a medal bonus. It is something the TTOC should do – he athletes have been re-classified. It is just my proposal, it does not oblige anyone else," he said.
Thompson, whose Olympic resume now has been updated to one gold (2008 4x100m relay) and two silver medals (2008 100m and 2012 4x100m), was ecstatic yesterday. In an interview with CNC3, Thompson said, "We're happy about it, we're excited about it, it's a huge accomplishment and we're looking forward to receiving the gold medals," he said.
GOLDEN BOYS: Trinidad and Tobago's 2008 4x100m sprinters (from left) Marc Burns, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender and Richard Thompson have been officially named Olympic champions.