August 21, 2014 - 2:58 PM
It has been six years since Canadian shot putter Dylan Armstrong just missed the Olympic podium and over a year since the Belarusian who beat him for the bronze medal was banned from the sport for life.
Armstrong's long wait for Olympic glory is about to end.
The official record from the men's shot put competition at the 2008 Beijing Games will now show that Armstrong finished in third place instead of fourth. The change was made this week after the International Olympic Committee recognized the IAAF sanction given to Andrei Mikhnevich, who tested positive in retests of his doping sample from the 2005 world championships.
Armstrong may have been denied his podium appearance at the Bird's Nest Stadium, but he's thrilled that he'll eventually be presented with the medal in his home country.
"Just getting a medal and receiving it at home is truly amazing," Armstrong said Thursday from Vancouver. "Even though the moment in Beijing would have been an absolutely amazing moment, it's still very satisfying to know that I'm going to get it and receive it on home soil."
Armstrong will receive the medal at a later date. Plans have not been finalized but he hopes the ceremony will be held in his hometown of Kamloops, B.C.
Tomasz Majewski of Poland won gold in Beijing with a throw of 21.51 metres and American Christian Cantwell took silver with a throw of 21.09 metres. Armstrong initially finished fourth with a throw of 21.04 metres, just one centimetre behind Mikhnevich.
"It's definitely the most important medal that I've achieved," Armstrong said on a conference call. "That being said, it's kind of like the big ticket. I can use this now to inspire younger athletes, keep kids out of trouble and help them achieve their goals, especially in my community.
"Really give kids hope, that's what I'm about. I've always been a big supporter of athletics in Canada."
Mikhnevich had already served a two-year suspension for a doping offence so the positive test from 2005 resulted in a lifetime ban. Last year's sanction from the IAAF — the world governing body for track and field — annulled his results dating back to August 2005.
The placings from several events had to be adjusted. Armstrong was also retroactively awarded the bronze medal from the 2010 world indoor championships after Mikhnevich was stripped of his silver medal from that competition.
He received the world indoor medal first as it only needed rubber stamping from the IAAF. The Olympic bronze was a longer process as it needed to go through both the IAAF and the IOC.
"Justice has been made," said COC president Marcel Aubut.
The 33-year-old Armstrong said he's proud that he was able to stay positive during the long process. He added that he has always been determined to set a good example for others.
"We can say, 'Hey, look. Dylan Armstrong did it. He did it clean. He stood by it his whole career,'" Armstrong said. "And hopefully people can see that and relate to that. And parents can tell their kids, 'Look, we can do this.'
"Your kids can do this clean."
The Canadian has battled elbow problems since a disappointing fifth-place finish at the 2012 London Games. He's hoping to return to the Olympics for a third time at the 2016 Games in Rio.
Armstrong's bronze brings Canada's total medal haul to 19 (three gold, nine silver and seven bronze) from the Beijing Games. It is Canada's first-ever Olympic medal in shot put.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2014