She had to wait six years for it, but Christine Girard can now offically call herself an Olympic gold medallist.
On Thursday, the International Olympic Committee confirming that Girard will be awarded the gold medal as the 2012 Olympic champion in weightlifting (women’s 63 kg weight class).
Girard finished third while representing Canada at the London 2012 Olympics, behind Maiya Maneza of Kazakhstan and Svetlana Tsarukaeva of Russia. Both athletes ahead of Girard have since been caught for doping, disqualifying them from the competition, after the IOC ordered retesting of more than 1,500 urine sample from the 2008 and 2012 Summer Games.
“I never doubted for a moment, that I did all that I could do to win that gold medal,” said Girard. “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.”
Remarkably (or not, depending on your perspective), this isn’t the first time that Girard has been wronged at the Olympics by drug cheats. The Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec native placed fourth at the Beijing 2008 competition, only to be awarded bronze in 2016 after Irina Nekrassova of Kazakhstan for testing positive for banned substances.
The Canadian Olympic Committee says it is in close contact with IOC officials to organize a medal ceremony for Girard, who now lives in White Rock, BC.
“Congratulations to Christine for this spectacular achievement,” said Tricia Smith, president of the Canadian Olympic Committee. “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.”
Girard is the first Canadian to ever win gold in Olympic weightlifting, and the first from Canada to win two medals in the sport. She also joins Rosie MacLennan as Canada’s only gold medallists from London 2012.