Shot Putter Armstrong Might Be Awarded Olympic Bronze

Canadian shot putter Dylan Armstrong who narrowly missed the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics may get the same real soon.

This was after Andrei Mikhnevich of Belarus, who edged Armstrong for bronze, was one of six athletes caught for doping in re-tests of their samples from the 2005 world track and field championships in Helsinki. The 2003 world champion, Mikhnevich, had already served a two-year suspension for a doping offense, so a positive test from 2005 should result in a lifetime ban. Mikhnevich threw 21.05 meters at the Birds Nest in Beijing, while Armstrong, from Kamloops, threw 21.04 at the Beijing Olympics.

Among the other five athletes whose re-tests were positive was Belarusian shot putter Nazdeya Ostapchuk, who won the shot put at the 2005 worlds and finished second in 2003, 2007 and 2011, Ivan Tsikhan of Belarus and Olga Kuzenkova of Russia — men’s and women’s hammer throw champions at the 2005 world championships, Vadim Devyatovskiy of Belarus, who took second in the hammer at the 2005 worlds, and Tatyana Kotova of Russia, who was second in the long jump.

IAAF president Lamine Diack said in a statement that the message of our organization to cheaters is increasingly clear that, with constant advancements being made in doping detection, there is no place to hide and the IAAF will continue to do everything in its power to ensure the credibility of competition, and where the rules have been broken, will systematically uncover the cheats. The IAAF said it re-tested samples using “the most up-to-date analytical techniques.”

Armstrong, the Canadian shot putter, is the reigning Commonwealth Games and Pan American Games champion and has also won a world championship silver medal in the shotput event and holds the Canadian national record, the Commonwealth games record, and the Pan American Games record for shotput. He remarked after news of his winning the bronze medal that the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency need to go harder after governments and national sport federations in the fight to weed out drug cheats. He added that these federations are protecting athletes and he knows where throwers have been caught three times and remarked it’s ridiculous and it just goes on and on.

Armstrong went on to add that some national federations are weak on the issue and they’re under the influence of governments and there’s no incentive to catch their own nationals. The shot putter praised WADA and the IAAF for using new technology to re-test samples from years ago, but said there are still a number of loopholes that have to be sealed. Meanwhile, organizers of The Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome Track Classic, which goes July 1 at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, have plans to celebrate Armstrong being bumped up to a medal position, although a formal awarding of an Olympic bronze may take a couple of months. The medal is the first ever won in a throwing event by a Canadian athlete at the Olympics.

Dylan Armstrong has been competing almost daily in Europe since May 30, throwing a season-best of 20.74 meters at Velenje, Slovenia, on June 4. Only 11 other shot putters have thrown further in 2013, including Ryan Whiting of the U.S., who is the only man to go over 22 meters (22.28). He has two more meets in Europe before heading to Canadian nationals in Moncton June 20-23-and then on to the Jerome.

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