South Surrey’s Christine Girard (right) stands on the podium at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The other two podium finishes have now officially been stripped of their medals. (File photo)

Olympic gold now official for B.C. weightlifter

Christine Girard’s bronze medal from 2012 Olympics upgraded to gold, IOC announces

Now it’s official – Christine Girard is an Olympic champion.

The retired B.C. weightlifter, who lives in South Surrey, learned this week from the International Olympic Committee that her bronze medal from the 2012 Summer Olympics – in the women’s 63-kg competition – is now officially upgraded to gold.

The gold and silver medallists – Kazakhstan’s Maiya Maneza and Russia’s Svetlana Tsurukaeva, respectively – were discovered to have tested positive for banned substances, with Maneza being stripped of her medal in the fall of 2016, and Tsurukeva in April of last year, leaving Girard as the only clean athlete left from the original trio of podium finishes.

Girard first heard the podium boost was in the works last spring – days after Tsurukeva was stripped of silver – but did not hear official word from the IOC until earlier this week. The decision was announced officially Thursday morning.

“We’re just so thrilled it’s finally official,” Girard told Black Press.

“It’s the last step in a long journey – this all started two years ago. We’re really happy this moment is finally here.”

The next step for Girard – and the Canadian Olympic Committee – is to organize some type of medal ceremony, and offiially get the gold into Girard’s hands. Girard still doesn’t have the bronze medal she is owed from the 2008 Olympics – in which she finished fourth, but was bumped to third due to another doping sanction after the fact – and said she will recieve both medals at the upcoming ceremony.

In 2012, Girard’s bronze-medal win was a watershed moment for Canadian weightlifting – she was the first Canadian woman to win an Olympic medal. Now, she is also Canada’s first two-time medallist in the sport.

“Congratulations to Christine for this spectacular achievement. She is a weightlifting trailblazer in so many ways and we are extremely proud of her,” Canadian Olympic Committee president Tricia Smith said in a news release.

“Christine has always lived the values of sport and of competing clean. We are so pleased to see her finally receive the Olympic gold medal which she has so rightfully earned.”

When speaking to Black Press last year about the failed drug tests of her two competitors, Girard said she was thrilled to be in line for a gold medal, but did feel cheated, in a sense, because she did not get to celebrate the win in the moment, at the 2012 Games.

Now, however, she’s excited to have her own ceremony, which she expects to happen “sometime later this year.”

“This way, I’ll get to share the moment with more people from here, so that’s good, too,” she said.

As well, Girard – who is originally from Rouyn-Noranda, Que. said she hopes the new ceremony will further help bring attention to the anti-doping cause – which is something she feels strongly about.

“I think having my medal later gives a stronger message… even though I didnt have that moment in London,” she said.

“This is a win for (clean) athletes, a win for our country and a win for our values. I’m pretty happy about that.”

Just Posted

Abbotsford mayor not sure why he was endorsed by anti-SOGI group

Henry Braun notes he has taken heat for raising Pride Flag, says inclusion is important

Grammy Award-winning Little Big Town to perform in Abbotsford

Country Music Hall of Fame inductees bring their tour to Abbotsford Centre

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

TRAFFIC: Delays on Highway 1 eastbound

Accident involving dump truck and logging truck slowing traffic

Candidates skew older than population, few women running

Those running are older than Abbotsford’s average age, but reflect immigrant-rich city

VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: 2018 West Coast Women’s Show

Highlights from the 18th annual event at Tradex in Abbotsford

Trump: Saudi king ‘firmly denies’ any role in Khashoggi mystery

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is travelling to the Middle East to learn more about the fate of the Saudi national

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

Allen died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Sockeye run in Shuswap expected to be close to 2014 numbers

Salute to the Sockeye on Adams River continues until Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

B.C. man who abducted and assaulted 11-year-old girl has parole rules tightened

Brian Abrosimo made ‘inappropriate and sexualized’ comments to female staff

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

Most Read