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Are there athletes stripped of Olympic medals?
The World Olympics gathers all the best athletes in the world to compete in several sports and determine who is the best. These athletes go through extensive training for long periods of time, and some may have started training at a very young age. Competing in the World Olympics involves many people, such as coaches, physicians, nutritionists, and team managers, in preparing an athlete for the event and protecting themselves at all times.
Athletes who are victorious in the Olympic Games will receive medals and recognition for their achievements. But there are instances where the International Olympic committee strips an athlete’s medal for valid reasons. Read on to about these athletes who lost their wins in an instant.
Medal: Gold, Shot Put
Event: 2012 London Summer Olympics
Nadezhda Ostapchuk is among the athletes stripped of Olympic medals after she underwent a doping test during the 2012 London Summer Olympics and failed. She lost her gold medal from winning the shot put event. Her coach admitted that they spiked her food with an illegal substance thinking that it will be long gone by the time she gets her drug tests. The committee stripped off Nadezhda's medals from both the 2012 and 2008 Games, and she received a one year ban. Valerie Adams of New Zealand received the gold medal instead.
The report stated that Nadezhda underwent two tests during the London Summer Olympics and the results showed evidence of methenolone, which is a substance banned by the International Olympic Committee.
Nadezhda Ostapchuk was a successful shot put athlete with winning gold medals at the European Championships and World Indoor Championships in 2010. She always finishes no worse than third place in the shot put event.
Medal: Bronze, wrestling
Event: 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics
Ara Abrahamian is a Swedish wrestler who competed in the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008. The International Olympic Committee revoked his bronze medal after disputing a judge’s ruling in a semi-final match. He took off his bronze medal during the ceremony, leaving it on the mat as he exited. The IOC officials banned him from joining the Olympics for life.
Medal: Gold, Cycling
Event: 2004 Athens Summer Olympics
Tyler Hamilton was an American professional road bicycle racer who won a gold medal in the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics. But upon his drug testing, results revealed that there was someone else’s blood in his bloodstream, which is a form of blood doping. He soon confessed that there were various forms of blood coping that included his teammate, Lance Armstrong. Upon his confession, the International Olympic Committee asked him to return the medal back. It started a slew of investigations that resulted in several athletes being stripped of Olympic medals.
Medal: Gold, 4×400 Meters Relay
Event: 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics
This group of athletes stripped of Olympic medals consisted of Michael Johnson, Angelo Taylor, Calvin Harrison, and Antonio Pettigrew won their gold medals in the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics. Unfortunately, the International Olympic Committee stripped their gold medals, reinstated them, then stipped them all away again.
The whole team suffered this incident after Jerome Young committed a doping offence. But during the finals, he did not run with the team, which gave them the opportunity to get their medals back. However, Antonio Pettigrew confessed that he used performance-enhancers that made them lose their medals again in 2008.
Medal: Bronze, Gymnastics
Event: 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics
Dong Fangxiao is a Chinese gymnast who participated in the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics. She won a bronze medal as a member of the Chinese gymnastics team, but the International Olympics Committee found out that she was too young to compete.
Dong Fangxiao falsified her age to be eligible to compete in the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics. The gymnastics federation conducted an investigation and stated that Dong was actually 14 years old, two years younger than the allowed minimum age. All her accomplishments from the 2020 Sydney Summer Olympics and other several major competitions have been revoked.
The gymnastics federation requested the International Olympic Committee strip Dong Fangxiao’s Olympic bronze medal and the entire Chinese team. The medals went to the United State’s women’s team, who came in fourth in the competition. These athletes stripped of Olympic medals caused a major disgrace to the entire Chinese delegation.
Medal: Gold, Weightlifting
Event: 2000 Summer Olympics
Izabela Dragneva is a former Bulgarian weightlifter who participated in the 2000 Summer Olympics and won the gold medal. She holds the record for the first woman to win in a weightlifting competition in Olympic history. However, along with other members of the Bulgarian weightlifting team, she failed her drug tests. She was stripped of her Olympic medal and was disqualified for cheating.
Medal: Gold, All-around competition
Event: 2000 Summer Olympics
Andrea Răducan is a retired Romanian gymnast who competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics at the young age of 16 years old. She was successful in winning the gold medal for the women’s all-around competition, but she was tested positive for an illegal substance in cold medicine.
The team’s physician administered the medicine for her, which proved that she was not guilty of doping, but instead, her physician suffered the ban from practising in the 2004 and the 2008 Games. Nevertheless, her gold medal was not reinstated.
Medal: Gold, Giant Slalom
Event: 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics
Ross Rebagliati is a snowboarder from Canada who competed and won a gold medal in the men’s giant slalom event in the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. The International Olympic Committee stripped him of his medal because he tested positive for THC, which is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that creates a high sensation for the user. THCs are also found in edibles, oils, capsules, tinctures, and more that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
According to the Canadian Olympic Association, the THC is not a banned substance, which makes the International Olympic Committee no authority to take the medal back for that reason, which made them return the gold medal back to Ross.
The International Olympic Committee then added cannabis to the list of illegal substances two months after the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. Ross Rebaliati became an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry after retiring.
Medal: Bronze, Weightlifting
Event: 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics
Ibragim Samadov is a retired Chechen weightlifter who competed in the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics for the Soviet Union. The competition was so close that it needed two tiebreakers, but Samadov was left with a bronze in third place. During the ceremony, Samadov dropped the bronze medal on the mat and left it there.
The International Olympic Committee quickly disqualified him and banned him from competing, and sentenced him to a lifetime ban from the International Weightlifting Federation and the Olympics.
Medal: Gold, 400-meter freestyle
Event: 1972 Munich Summer Olympics
Rick DeMont is a former American swimmer who won the gold medal after winning the men’s 400-meter freestyle in the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics. He also had asthma and was taking Marax, a medication that contained a prohibited substance.
The United States Olympic Committee was aware of the substance content but did not clarify its legalities in the Olympic games with the International Olympic Committee. Rick was unfortunately disqualified and received a ban from competing in other events.
Medal: Bronze, Pistol Shooting
Event: 1968 Mexico Summer Olympics
Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall joined the 1968 Mexico Summer Olympics to compete in the pistol shooting event. His team won the bronze medal, but he drank before the competition to calm his nerves.
The Swedish team was forced to return their bronze medals, despite the fact that alcohol was not yet a banned substance at that time. The 1968 Mexico Summer Olympics was the first event to introduce drug testing, and Liljenwall was the first athlete who received the penalty.
Medal: Silver, Figure Skating
Event: 1964 Austria Winter Olympics
Kilius and Bäumler won the silver medal in figure skating in the 1964 Austria Winter Olympics. The pair skaters violated the International Olympics Committee’s amateurism rules. The pair participated in the show Holiday on Ice before competing in the Olympics. Because of this, they were stripped of their medals but later competed again in 1987.
Medal: Silver, Boxing
Event: 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympics
Ingemar Johansson participated in the 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympics and competed in the boxing event. He was 19 years old then and was able to make it to the gold medal match. Unfortunately, he was disqualified for passivity, meaning he tired out his opponent by blocking more than he should be punching. Despite this incident, his silver medal was reinstated to him in 1982.
Medal: Gold, Pentathlon and Decathlon
Event: 1912 Stockholm Summer Olympics
A native American athlete, Jim Thorpe competed at the 1912 Stockholm Summer Olympics in the pentathlon and decathlon. He impressively won gold medals for the two events. But prior to the Olympics, he participated in professional sports, which were against the rules at that time. The International Olympic Committee reinstated his medals thirty years after his death, but he was not listed as co-winner despite him winning the events.
These athletes showed heart in competing in the world’s most prestigious sporting events. They may be stripped of their winnings, but it showed how much they wanted to win the competitions and be at the top.