Emotional moment for Olive Loughnane as she received gold medal
The now retired walker was upgraded from a silver in Berlin 2009 after Olga Kaninska was found guilty of doping
For Olive Loughnane a long seven year wait came to an end at the European Championships today when she was retrospectively rewarded the gold medal for the 20km race walk in Berlin seven years ago.
The now retired athlete was upgraded from her silver medal at the 20km race walk after Russian Olga Kaninska’s competition results were annulled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) earlier this year.
Loughnane produced a season’s best time of 1:28:58 to chase home Kaniskina at the Berlin championships and saw off the challenge of Chinese walker Liu Hong for the battle for silver.
Kaninska’s case saw the Irish woman awarded her gold medal in Amsterdam.
It was a special moment for the 40-year-old as she was presented with the medal by IAAF president Seb Coe before the national anthem was played and the Irish flag raised.
“There’s value in sentiment and it was great to share the moment with all the Irish fans here,” said an emotional Loughnane.
The annulment of Kaninska’s results is yet another example of the drugs controversy engulfing Russian athletics and Svein Arne Hansen, the European Athletics president, was not shy with his criticism.
“It’s a very important signal,” he said. “I have no sympathy for the athletes who have been cheating.” All athletes will also wear bibs saying, “I Run Clean”. “If they aren’t doing that, it will be very shameful if they are caught afterwards.”