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

PHOTOS: Vancouver Island MusicFest showcases talent from across Canada and around the world

Eclectic line-up ranged from West African to Korean performers, along with rock and blues legends

SLIDESHOW: Hundreds gather for the combination of classic cars and cool aircraft

Campbell River’s annual Wings & Wheels event held at city airport

UPDATED: New law centre serving B.C. region with highest rates of kids in care

Many cases reflect conditions of poverty, says Parents Legal Centre

North Island saw five overdose deaths in two months, according to BC Coroner

Area has third highest rate, with 15 fatal illicit drug fatalities by May 31

$188,000 funding provided for Campbell River spawning gravel replacement

Part 1.9 million FWCP funding for 33 fish and wildlife projects

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

Mercury tops out on top of the world: Alert in Nunavut warmer than Victoria

It’s the latest anomaly in what’s been a long, hot summer across the Arctic

Canadian is detained in China on drug allegations: Chinese government

Detention of a Canadian in China comes as part a diplomatic dispute triggered by arrest of Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou

Rare white ravens spotted again in mid-Island

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in Coombs area

CO’s call off efforts to trap bear who attacked North Island man

Woss man recuperating after incident on remote logging road

Too much time on social media can hurt teens’ mental health: study

Researchers conducted a four-year survey of more than 3,800 adolescents between Grades 7 and 11

Advocates want charges in horse deaths during Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races

Chuckwagon races are a nightly spectacle during the Stampede, a 10-day annual celebration of western life

ICBC insurance renewals get more complicated this year

Crash history, driver risk prompt more reporting requirements

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

Most Read