Canadian weightlifter Christine Girard will soon be the proud owner of an Olympic gold medal from the 2012 London Olympic Games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) made it official Thursday, announcing that now-retired Girard has been confirmed as the champion in the women’s 63-kilogram weight class.
Girard originally placed third but the top two finishers — Kazakhstan’s Maiya Maneza and Russia’s Svetlana Tzarukaeva. In 2016, the IOC conducted large-scaled re-testing of urine samples from Beijing and London, catching more than 100 cheaters in the process. Two years later, all avenues of appeal have finally expired for two disgraced steroid-using weightlifters from Kazakhstan and another from Russia, allowing the IOC to announce that Girard will be awarded both medals sometime in the next few months.
“I never doubted for a moment, that I did all that I could do to win that gold medal,” Girard said in a statement. “To have my efforts and those of my trainers, family, and supporters validated, means the world to me, even if it is after six long years.
“This gold medal is a testament to clean sport. It means even more to me now, than had I heard O Canada played that day in London.”
Girard was the first Canadian woman to win a weightlifting medal when she finished third in London. A medal ceremony for Girard will be held at a later date, the Canadian Olympic Committee said in a release. She now becomes the first Canadian weightlifter to win gold altogether.
“Congratulations to Christine for this spectacular achievement,” said COC president Tricia Smith. “She is a weightlifting trailblazer in so many ways and we are extremely proud of her. 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.
“We will consult with Christine and the IOC to ensure her well-deserved and long-awaited celebration. The COC continues to support clean sport to provide all athletes a fair and level playing field.”
The 33-year-old coach, wife and mother-of-three who now lives in South Surrey, B.C., prides herself on moving forward rather than dwelling on what-ifs, but Olympic medals can be life-changing. And her life after Beijing needed a change.