OLD Elean Goldie Sayers says belatedly receiving her 2008 Olympic javelin bronze medal in front of a home crowd in London was “a long time coming”.
Goldie was awarded the Beijing medal at the Anniversary Games on July 20th, after historic doping violations. Russian Mariya Abakumova was stripped of silver in 2016 after a reanalysis of a sample tested positive for an anabolic steroid.
Speaking to the BBC, Goldie said: “It’s been a long old process, I found out driving down the M11 on my way to meet my mum for a coffee in the Newmarket Waitrose – glamorous! It’s been a long time coming. At least I’ve got my Beijing tracksuit on.”
Speaking after the ceremony, Goldie’s mum Liz, who used to work at King’s Ely, said: “Eleven years, who would have believed it? It’s been fantastic. I remember after Beijing, Goldie came off the track and she gave me a hug and said ‘I couldn’t have given it any more’.”
Ahead of the ceremony, 37-year-old Goldie said: “It’s quite overwhelming. It’s been quite an emotional time. I have had the benefit of a lot of time to reflect, and I guess the emotions have changed. I can look back on a career and think ‘I was pretty good at lobbing that spear around’. I really feel just a complete sense of gratitude for the career I’ve had, the people I’ve met during that career and all the things I’ve learnt along the way.”
Goldie, who retired from the sport in 2017, said she felt she had had the “greatest moment of her life stolen” when Abakumova’s failed test was revealed. A subsequent appeal by the Russian was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2018.
Goldie said: “I guess like anything in life, there are always going to be those people who cheat to try and get an advantage. As an athlete, there’s nothing you can do about it. You can get bitter and twisted about it and be angry, but I just don’t see there being any point.
“It’s in the past now and I can take this medal as proof that if you set yourself goals and make powerful dreams that mean a lot to you, then you can achieve little by little what you want to, but for some of us it takes a bit longer than expected.”