Clean Athletes Share their Emotional and Inspirational Journeys Through the Olympic Medal Reallocation Process
Series Trailer for “Take the Podium” Available to Watch NOW on olympicchannel.com
MADRID – Clean athletes who were awarded their rightful Olympic medal following the disqualification of doped athletes are featured in a new original series Take the Podium. Each episode highlights an Olympic Medal Reallocation ceremony and profiles the path to redemption for those athletes who were originally denied their special moment on the podium. The six-episode series premieres worldwide on Wednesday, 6 November on the Olympic Channel global digital platform, and will be available at olympicchannel.com, its mobile apps and on connected TV devices.
Told through the perspective of the athletes and teams, Take the Podium details the impact that the medal reallocation process has had on their personal lives and athletic careers. Profiles in the series include those of Canadian weightlifter Christine Girard, Lithuanian heptathlete Austra Skujyte, the 2008 Japanese 4x100m men’s relay team, German hammer thrower Betty Heidler, British javelin thrower Goldie Sayers and the 2014 Team USA two-man and four-man bobsleigh teams.
In May 2018, upon the recommendation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes’ Commission, the IOC introduced the Olympic Medal Reallocation Ceremony in efforts to recognise the achievements of clean athletes. Following disqualifications due to doping, the Olympic Medal Reallocation Ceremony Principles provide athletes with six options to receive their medal(s) to celebrate their achievements; at an Olympic Games, Youth Olympic Games, by the International Sport Federation or their National Olympic Committee, a ceremony at The Olympic Museum or at a private ceremony.
“I can only imagine the disappointment of athletes who have had their special moment taken away due to cheating,” said Kirsty Coventry, a two-time Olympic Champion and chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission. “Medal reallocation ceremonies are very important for fair sport, for clean sport, for the athletes, and being able to reward athletes who have embodied these values is very important.”
Prior to the recommendation of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, there was no standardized reallocation process with athletes receiving medals at home or at the offices of their National Olympic Committees with little or no publicity.
“It’s very moving to see these athletes finally recognised for their Olympic achievements,” said Danka Bartekova, an Olympic medallist and vice-chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission. “Their stories have and continue to inspire many people around the world. Now that justice is served, it is fantastic to see that clean athletes are honoured and celebrated in a meaningful way.”
Offering year-round coverage of Olympic sports and elite athletes in their quest for success, the Olympic Channel over-the-top (OTT) streaming service is available worldwide and subscription-free at olympicchannel.com, its mobile apps and on connected TV devices.
Olympic Channel Episode Guide: Take the Podium
Episode 1 – How Christine Girard was finally awarded the gold medal she deserved
After Christine Girard finished in fourth place at Beijing 2008, the Canadian weightlifter fell into a depression. She worked back into shape for London 2012, where she finished in third. But now, after disqualifications due to doping and the reallocation of medals, she was finally awarded the Olympic medals she deserved.
Episode 2 – After unspeakable sadness, Skujyte finds redemption in reallocated medal
After years of doubt, doping sanctions saw Lithuanian heptathlete Austra Skujyte upgraded from fifth place in the London 2012 heptathlon to the bronze medal. Watch how she found overdue redemption following her fourth and final Olympic Games.
Episode 3 – Japan’s historic 4x100m team trades Beijing bronze for reallocated silver
In 2008, the Japanese men’s relay team won their country’s first-ever men’s Olympic medal on the track. But after the first-place Jamaican squad forfeited their gold due to a doping violation, Naoki Tsukahara, Shingo Suetsugu, Shinji Takahira and Nobuharu Asahara moved up to silver.
Episode 4 – How Betty Heidler received her silver medal after a seven-year wait
German hammer thrower Betty Heidler was upgraded to the silver medal after the re-analysis of control samples and the disqualification of multiple competitors. She describes a feeling a mix of emotions upon the news that she would finally be awarded the Olympic medal that she deserved.
Episode 5 –Goldie Sayers 11 years wait to find redemption in her bronze medal
Team GB Olympian Goldie Sayers fell in love with the sport of javelin at the age of 16. After qualifying and competing in three Olympic Games, her best finish was fourth in Beijing 2008. But after the reanalysis of doping samples and the subsequent disqualification of competitors, she moved up to receive her rightful bronze medal.
Episode 6 – (Coming in Winter 2020) Team USA two-man and four-man bobsleigh teams
In a ceremony scheduled to be held this 19th of November, both the two-man bobsleigh team of the late Steven Holcomb and Steve Langton and the four-man bobsleigh team of Holcomb, Langton, Chris Fogt and Curt Tomasevicz will receive silver medals after originally finishing third at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.
About the Olympic Channel
The Olympic Channel is a multi-platform global media destination where fans can discover, engage and share in the power of sport and the excitement of the Olympic Games all year round. Offering original programming, news, live sports events and highlights, the Olympic Channel provides additional exposure for sports and athletes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in 11 languages. The Olympic Channel was launched in August 2016 in support of the IOC’s goal, set out in Olympic Agenda 2020, of providing a new way to engage younger generations, fans and new audiences with the Olympic Movement. Founding Partners supporting the Olympic Channel are Worldwide TOP Partners Bridgestone, Toyota and Alibaba. The Olympic Channel is available worldwide at olympicchannel.com, its mobile apps and on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and the Roku platform.