Twelve years later, US Olympic hurdler Lasinda Demos will receive the gold medal at a ceremony in Paris

There is no way to make up for what Olympic hurdler Lashinda Demos lost the day she finished 0.7 seconds behind a Russian competitor, who everyone later discovered was doping.

What the American 400-meter hurdles champion will get is a big day under the Eiffel Tower, where she will receive the gold medal that was denied her 12 years ago at the London Olympics.

Demos, now 41 and a mother of four, said a lot of time had passed and she wasn’t too excited when she learned last year that Natalia Antiyukh’s first medal would go to her.

“But the only thing I knew was that I was on the international stage,” Demos said. “No matter what, I wanted to get that promotion on the international stage.”

With the help of a lawyer and a determination not to accept the IOC’s first offer — usually a presentation at a national or world championship — Demos negotiated a deal to take home the medal on August 9 at the Paris Olympics, in the Parc des Champions in Paris. The shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

This will be the first time the IOC has held a “reallocation” ceremony at a Summer Games.

Demos will be bringing her husband and children on the trip. I started a Go to the Fund Me page To raise money to bring her parents, possibly her grandmother and other friends and family.

She said she held no grudge against the IOC for the decade it took her to get this medal. But she wanted more than just a formal remembrance of this moment. What she really wanted was a ceremony at the track stadium, but the IOC told her that wasn’t possible. The Eiffel Tower isn’t a bad backup plan.

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“I would have appreciated a little more, I think, the glitz and glamor of people receiving their medals” in hindsight, DeMoss said. “It’s a work in progress. I’m pushing in good faith. I’m happy to be at the forefront of this. I can literally say I’m the pioneer of this movement.”

Others scheduled to receive medals on the day will be Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic and Calis Spencer of Jamaica, who finished behind Demos in the 400 metres. Also in the group of ten: American high jumper Eric Kennard, who ranked second after the Russian. It was found to be doping.

Demos estimates she lost by seven figures when it comes to what she could have achieved had she returned home in 2012 a gold medalist. She has struggled with injuries throughout this season and getting to the starting line at the Olympics felt like a victory of sorts.

When Antiukh beat her to the finish line by less than half a step, Demos said it occurred to her that the Russian had never beaten her before.

“But it wasn’t in my mind that anyone who hit me was automatically dirty. I didn’t let that creep into my thinking,” she said. “I accepted that I lost and tried to do my best to move on. But it was a five- or six-year process of getting over failure at something I had trained my whole life to do.

It was only after details emerged about the widespread Russian doping scandal that began in early 2010 that Demos began to view her loss in a different light. Even then, it took years for Antioch to be flagged for doping.

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After stepping away from the sport for a few years, Demos returned to coaching at Culver City High School near Los Angeles. She works as a clinical researcher in a healthcare company. She has two twin sons, aged 16, and two other sons, aged 4 and 5.

She said she’s thrilled she’ll feel like a gold medalist this summer at the Olympics, even if the award comes 12 years after she started racing.

Nor is she under any illusion that her journey to the gold medal – 400 metres, plus 4,384 days – will mark a major turning point in the fight against doping in world sport. Because of doping, and this year’s war in Ukraine, at the last Olympics, the Russians will bring a full team to still be the same 2012 Games that finally made Demos an Olympic champion.

“It doesn’t break my heart,” she said. “But what comes to my mind is that (doping) will never go away. I don’t think anything has changed since the big Russian scandal. I think it will always be there.”

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AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games

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