In his Olympic career, Usain Bolt ran nine races, and won nine gold medals. However, the official record books will always say eight. One of the medals Bolt won in 2008 was stripped from him due to the positive doping test of a relay teammate, and he won’t be getting it back — ever.
How did Bolt win this medal?
He won that gold medal during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, for the men’s 4x100m relay. He took the baton third for Jamaica, and the team didn’t just win gold, it set a world record. That gold medal was one of three Bolt won during his breakout performance in Beijing. He also won gold in the men’s 100m and 200m, and set world records in each of those events as well.
Why was this medal taken away?
It happened eight years after the 4x100m relay in Beijing had been run, and it wasn’t Bolt’s fault. In 2016, the International Olympic Committee decided to retest athlete samples that had been submitted for the 2008 Olympics. During the testing, they discovered that the sample submitted by Nesta Carter, Bolt’s relay teammate who ran the first leg of the race, contained the stimulant methylhexaneamine, a banned substance. Jamaica was retroactively disqualified from the race, and all four relay teammates had their gold medals taken away.
Carter appealed the IOC’s decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. On Thursday, CAS issued its final ruling on Carter’s appeal, and it didn’t go his way. Here’s the reasoning behind the ruling, from the Associated Press:
CAS said its panel “could not accept any of the arguments raised by Nesta Carter contending that the test results should be ignored or the [International Olympic Committee panel] decision [to strip the medals] should otherwise be overturned for certain alleged failures.”
That means that Jamaica will remain disqualified and none of the four teammates will be getting their gold medals back.
It spoils Bolt’s perfect Olympics record
In 2008, 2012 and 2016, Usain Bolt participated in the same three Olympic events: 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay. He won gold in each of those events in every Olympics he participated in, giving him a perfect gold medal record. Unfortunately, the ruling of CAS means he’s always going to be one short of the perfect record, even though he had it for the eight years following the race.
It’s a shame for Bolt to lose the gold medal for something he had no part in — Nesta Carter tested positive, not Bolt — but he’s already looking back at better memories from 2008. May 31 is the tenth anniversary of Bolt breaking the 100m world record for the first time.
This day in History 31.05.08 pic.twitter.com/AW0eK7nPER
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) May 31, 2018
10 Years Ago Today: Usain Bolt breaks the 100m world record for the first time. pic.twitter.com/6duE3qKYoz
— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) May 31, 2018
He would break that 100m record two more times, and the time he set in 2009 (9.58 seconds) has yet to be broken. It’s not the same as a gold medal, but Bolt clearly knows there’s more to his career than just that.
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