It’s official: there is a former 2004 Olympic gold medalist in the shot put, which makes silver medalist Nelson only a few words away.
by The Trailer; interview by Josh Muxen
LAUSANNE – Word has come down from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the four athletes whose samples came back positive in a retroactive drug test from the 2004 Olympics in Athens will have their medals stripped.
Shot put gold medalist Yuriy Bilonog of Ukraine was one of those athletes, which means that pending the IOC’s announcement, gold will pass to the 2004 silver medalist, American Adam Nelson.
The Trailer previously spoke with Nelson before the IOC’s ruling.
The Trailer’s Josh Muxen caught Nelson before a flight to comment on today’s news .
Josh Muxen: Just read your tweet (“I now know what it feels like to win a lifetime achievement award posthumously. #playtrue #2004gold”). Congrats on what appears to be a gold medal for 2004. How did you hear about the news?
Adam Nelson: Thanks. I was on the phone and the person I was speaking with told me that a news bulletin was just released stating the IOC was banning four medalists, and as a result I will be receiving the gold.
JM: That’s fantastic news. What first went through your mind: relief, excitement?
AN: Mostly general excitement. To be honest, it feels really strange and it’s a weird feeling. I’ve heard the rumors before and have not given the rumors much credit until an official ruling. Now that it’s happened I’m excited. It is all just sinking in. You know, I feel I excited as I did to not lose that event [in 2004]; I was second on a tie-breaker. I feel good that I will always be the person who threw farthest on that day.
JM: What does this say about the vigilance of the IOC?
AN: I applaud the IOC and WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) in their process, and this sends a message to cheaters that they can still be caught after 8 years. I hope it continues to stop the cheaters’ actions, and the process only works if the IOC and WADA continue to be steadfast and improve the testing process to protect innocent athletes.
JM: If you were to see Bilonog, how do you think you would react?
AN: I would look at him with shame. I wouldn’t shake his hand and would not acknowledge him. He is a criminal and has robbed athletes. In any other profession these criminals would be prosecuted, but in our sport they merely get banned.
JM: Have you had a chance to talk to your family?
AN: Yeah, I spoke with my wife and brother, and they are both very excited.
JM: Again, congrats on the fantastic news. We at The Trailer, as well as track and field fans worldwide, are thrilled to hear you are finally getting the gold.
AN: Thanks, Josh.
JM: And don’t think just because you are a gold medalist now that this is going to get you out of running the Bay Area XC meet.
AN: (Laughs) If I can make it out there, we’ll talk.
Adam Nelson is two-time Olympic silver medalist (pending the IOC’s announcement, a gold and silver Olympic medalist) and was the 2005 Worlds champ. CONGRATULATE HIM ON TWITTER.