August 15, 2014 marked the six year anniversary of the men’s shot put competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Six days after that, Canadian Dylan Armstrong was finally able to react to the fact that he is now an Olympic bronze medallist.
“This is definitely a very exciting day for me,” Armstrong said during a conference call. “Even when I lost bronze by a single centimetre I continued to stay positive and I think that helped me achieve more medals in the future. I’m pretty speechless and super excited to be getting this medal finally for Canada.”
Armstrong was retroactively awarded the bronze medal following the disqualification of original third place finisher Andrei Mikhnevich of Belarus. During the summer of 2013 it was revealed that Mikhnevich’s doping samples from the 2005 IAAF World Championships had been re-tested and found to contain a banned substance. Because Mikhnevich had previously served a two-year suspension for a doping offence, the second positive test meant a lifetime ban and annulment of his results dating back to August 2005.
“It’s a bittersweet kind of moment but I’m definitely today not going to hold the focus on a drug cheat,” said Armstrong. “We all know there are people who are going to be willing to take those risks in sport, but as we can see it doesn’t pay off.”
Armstrong added that he has never felt the temptation to use performance enhancing drugs, blessed by great genetics from his father as well as the drive and commitment to be successful on the world stage.
“I’m able to wake up every day in the morning and have good sleeps at night and not worry about future tests or are they going to re-test my tests from previous world championships. I can move forward every day and know I’ve done it clean.”
“Hopefully it’s a big influence on the community across Canada and we can say ‘Hey, Dylan Armstrong did it. He did it clean.’ Hopefully people can see that and relate to that and parents tell their kids ‘We can do this, your kids can do this clean’.”
While the Olympic results have been updated, Armstrong still won’t have the hardware in hand until a special ceremony is held in the coming months, the plans for which are being worked out.
“Getting a medal and receiving it at home is truly amazing,” said Armstrong. “Even though the moment in Beijing would have been an absolute amazing moment, it’s still very satisfying to know that I’m going to get it and receive it on home soil.”
“It’s definitely the most important medal that I’ve achieved. I can use this now to inspire younger athletes, keep kids out of trouble, help them achieve their goals.”