Jamaican trio to finally receive Olympic medals at Paris 2024 Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Jamaican athletes Kaliese Spencer, Beverly McDonald, and Chelsea Hammond-Ross are set to receive their Olympic medals during a reallocation ceremony at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) announced.

“The JOA is pleased to announce that, in partnership with the IOC (International Olympic Committee), we will be hosting a special medal reallocation ceremony on August 9, 2024, in Paris at Champions Park, which is near the epicenter of all track and field activities and will be specially arranged by the IOC,” said Ryan Foster, secretary-general and chief executive officer of the JOA. “The venue will be arranged so that all medallists, their guests, national Olympic committees, and other specially invited officials will converge at Champions Park. The medals will be presented to the athletes by the IOC representatives along with the JOA representation.”

Foster made the announcement at the JOA Paris 2024 Olympic Games media launch at the Terra Nova Hotel. He added, “In addition, the JOA will fete the athletes and their family members after the medal ceremony to highlight our appreciation for their sacrifices in pursuit of greatness and national representation.”

Spencer officially became an Olympic medallist in March 2023 at the age of 35 and more than a decade after the 2012 London Games.

Spencer was formally reallocated the bronze medal in the 400m hurdles by the IOC because of the disqualification of Natalya Antyukh in fallout from the Russian doping scandal.

On the London track on August 8, 2012, Spencer finished fourth in 53.66 seconds behind Antyukh, who was implicated in 2022 in the second doping case of her career.

Historical evidence recovered from a Moscow testing laboratory database let track’s Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) decide to strip Antyukh of all her results from July 2012 through June 2013.

American runner Lashinda Demus who finished 0.07 seconds behind Antyukh officially became an Olympic champion, at the age of 40. Zuzana Hejnová of Czechia was upgraded to silver.

Beverly McDonald, now 54, will be awarded a bronze medal for the 200m from the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games following the disqualification of Marion Jones of the USA. McDonald originally finished fourth with a time of 22.35 seconds.

Jones, who secured three gold and two bronze medals in Sydney, admitted in October 2007 to using performance-enhancing drugs prior to the 2000 Olympics. Subsequently, her medals were returned to the IOC.

Jones was stripped of her 100, 200 and 4×400 gold medals and her long jump and 4×100 bronze medals. She served a six-month jail sentence for lying to federal prosecutors about her steroid use.

Pauline Davis-Thompson of the Bahamas, who won the 200m silver medal in a time of 22.27 was upgraded to gold, Susanthika Jayasinghe from Sri Lanka, who finished third in 22.28, moved up to silver.

Hammond-Ross will be awarded a bronze medal for the women’s long jump event from the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games following the disqualification of Tatyana Lebedeva from Russia. Lebedeva, who initially won silver medals in both the long jump and triple jump, was stripped of these medals 10 years later after testing positive for the steroid turinabol in a reanalysis of samples from the 2008 Games.

Lebedeva, who also holds two Olympic medals from the Sydney and Athens Games, retired in 2013 and became a Russian senator a year later. As a result of the reallocation, Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare was upgraded from bronze to silver, and Hammond-Ross moved from fourth to bronze.

Spencer expressed gratitude to the JOA for organizing the reallocation ceremony.

“My fellow Olympians Chelsea Hammond-Ross and Beverly McDonald are also elated at this long-awaited reality,” said Spencer. “Receiving our medals at these Olympic Games is the perfect backdrop to experiencing and reuniting that feeling of being rewarded for our best on the largest multisport stage in the world, and for this, we are grateful.”

Hammond-Ross and McDonald reside in the USA.