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

UPDATE: Police continue to investigate two bomb threats at Clearbrook Library

No explosives found in incidents on Thursday and Saturday in Abbotsford

Cascades basketball game cancelled

California team no longer travelling to B.C. due to air quality concerns

Fraser Valley Express doubles weekend and holiday bus service

Four new round trips to be added, starting Sept. 4

No smoke delays for Abbotsford Airport

Local facility has avoided impact of B.C. wildfires

Harry Manocha announces plans to run for Abbotsford council

Quality of life, homelessness and school violence among his concerns

VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford Car Show

13th annual Historic Downtown Abbotsford Car Show returns

B.C. team stays alive in Little League World Series after another nail-biter

Surrey-based squad scored a 6-4 win over Mexico reps in Williamsport on Monday

Kids, seniors at risk as smoke from distant fires hangs over parts of B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control says children’s lungs don’t fully develop until about age 10

B.C. mother charged in 7-year-old daughter’s death appears in court

The 36-year-old mother, of Langley’s Aaliyah Rosa, has been charged with second-degree murder

VIDEO: Teen soccer phenomenon Alphonso Davies to visit B.C. kids camp

The 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecap player is one of the youngest players in MLS history

New plan to lift more than two million people past the poverty line

Anti-poverty strategy will aim for 50 per cent cut in low-income rates: source

Liberals scrap lottery system for reuniting immigrants with their parents

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

More bus trips coming to Metro Vancouver this fall

TransLink touts improvements when fall service changes take effect Sept. 34

Bear kills off-leash dog in North Vancouver park

There have been nearly 200 pet or livestock and bear encounters so far this year

Most Read