9 years after London Games, Canada’s Drouin officially upgraded to silver medal

November 12, 2021
9 years after London Games, Canada's Drouin officially upgraded to silver medal
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Derek Drouin’s medal upgrade from the London Olympics is a positive sign for anti-doping measures in sport.

But the Olympic champion’s thoughts after Friday’s news instantly went to the newly-minted gold medallists, including Erik Kynard of the U.S. in his event, whose chances to stand atop the podium was stolen.

Nine years after winning high jump bronze at the 2012 London Olympics, Drouin’s medal was officially upgraded to silver on Friday as the IOC rubber-stamped disqualifications in several sports.

“It’s great to see these steps being taken to maintain the integrity of the Olympic Games which show that there is no place for doping in sport,” Drouin said Friday.

“I am just pained for the athletes who were denied the opportunity to listen to their own national anthem while standing on top of the podium, as well as the athletes who will now receive their Olympic medal in the mail rather than having the medal ceremony experience they always dreamt of.”

Drouin, a 31-year-old from Corunna, Ont., went on to win gold at the 2015 world championships and 2016 Rio Olympics.

Ivan Ukhov originally won gold in London but was one of 12 Russian track and field athletes who were found guilty in February of 2019 of state-backed doping. He received a doping ban, and his results from between July of 2012 to December of 2014 were disqualified, including his Olympic gold.

Men’s high jump was one of five events in track and field, canoeing and wrestling at the 2012 Olympics that saw results rewritten Friday as part of the International Olympic Committee’s executive board meeting. The IOC rubber-stamped the results that had to first be adjusted by the International Federations involved.

Kynard was bumped up to high jump gold, while Drouin, Mutaz Essa of Qatar, and Britain’s Robert Grabarz — who’d originally finished in a three-way tie for third — now share silver.

Drouin said a medal upgrade is “not the same. Speaking from experience, [standing atop the podium] is something that I’ll never forget, and it’s something that [Kynard] should have experienced, and he might never now.”

Drouin, whose career has been hampered by several serious injuries the past few years, also won gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2015 Pan American Games.

At least nobody in Drouin’s event in London missed standing on the podium entirely, he pointed out. Because of the three-way tie for bronze, there was no fourth-place finisher.

Canadian Dylan Armstrong finished fourth in shot put at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and so never climbed the Olympic medal podium. Years later, he was upgraded to bronze after Andrei Mikhnevich of Belarus was disqualified for doping. Armstrong finally received his medal — Canada’s first in shot put at an Olympics — at a ceremony in his hometown of Kamloops, B.C., in 2015.

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