Australian Olympic walker Jared Tallent is expected to be awarded a gold medal from the 2012 London Games after Russian athlete Sergey Kirdyapkin was disqualified over drug charges.
At the Games in 2012, Tallent was awarded a silver medal as he finished behind Kirdyapkin, who set an Olympic record by completing the men's 50 kilometre race walk in 3 hours, 35 minutes.
On Thursday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld appeals filed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) against Russian athletes including Kirdyapkin, whose results between August 20, 2009 and October 15, 2012 have been disqualified.
It is now a matter for the IAAF to award the gold medal to Tallent retrospectively, but the walker has already claimed the victory for himself.
History has been rewritten.... I am Olympic champion! pic.twitter.com/eRRCy6zqXt— Jared Tallent (@JaredTallent) March 24, 2016
He was asked by media by media on Friday how he would like to receive his new gold medal.
“I think somewhere here in Australia would be great, in front of family and friends -- hopefully a big crowd,” Tallent told reporters.
“I’m not sure it will be done before [the Rio Olympics] but if it’s soon after Rio it would be great.”
The news comes just before Tallent heads overseas for a training camp in his preparations for this year’s Olympic Games in Rio.
“It’s going to make me more motivated and determined this year being now the defending Olympic champion to go to Rio and cross the line first and get the gold medal on the day,” he said.
Athletics Australia Chief Executive Officer, Phil Jones, welcomed the decision of the CAS, applauding Tallent for the way he has conducted himself throughout the difficult period.
“Athletics Australia has always been of the opinion that Jared Tallent is the rightful gold medallist in the men’s 50 km race walk at London 2012,” he said.
“We will now take immediate action through the IAAF to ensure that the result is amended. Jared deserves to be recognised as the Olympic champion for his exemplary performance four years ago.”
Tallent has been campaigning for years to be awarded the gold medal since the doping scandal was brought to light and while justice has been served, he is disappointed he missed out on what should have been the highlight of his sporting career in London.
“It’s definitely a bit hollow that you don’t get to stand on the podium at the Olympic Games in front of all the people, the spectators that just saw you compete,” he said.
“You don’t get to see the Australian flag go up to the highest point and sing your national anthem. That’s all been taken away, I’ve missed out on so much that comes with being an Olympic champion and I’ll never get that back.”
Tallent has also called on the IAAF and International Olympic Committee to “stand firm” and stop convicted athletes from competing at the upcoming Olympics.
“For him [Sergey] to be competing in Rio would be a disgrace…I’m strongly against Russia competing at the Olympics,” he said.
“I’m sure the Russian athletes will say that they just went along with it and did what their coaches told them or did what the doctor said…it doesn’t change the fact that they cheated.
“Any athlete that has been cheated and has missed out on the results that they deserve should receive those awards just like myself.”
Huge congratulations to @JaredTallent Olympic champion!!!!!! So well deserved.— Sally Pearson OAM (@sallypearson) March 24, 2016