TRINIDAD AND Tobago’s 2008 Olympic men’s 4x100-metre relay team will receive their long-awaited gold medals at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland on Tuesday.
The quintet of Richard 'Torpedo’ Thompson, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callander, Marc Burns and Aaron Armstrong (reserve), along with TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Diane Henderson, are expected to arrive in Switzerland on Monday, for the medal presentation.
Initially, TT earned silver at the Beijing Olympics, behind Jamaican quartet Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Michael Frater and Nesta Carter. However, in 2017, Carter was found guilty of a doping violation and Jamaica was stripped of their gold medals by the IOC.
Carter firstly tested negative after the race in 2008. But his sample was one of many retested by the IOC in 2016 and was found to contain a prohibited stimulant, methylhexaneamine.
The TT sprint team were scheduled to receive their gold medals in 2020 but owing to the pandemic, it was postponed.
For Tuesday’s medal presentation, which will be done by IOC president Thomas Bach and other members of the IOC delegation, the TT five-man team have been permitted to bring along two guests each.
Speaking on a local television programme on Friday, Thompson confirmed the welcomed and “long overdue” news.
“This is a huge moment,” he said. “We are extremely proud and very excited to be a part of TT’s history. To spread the message around the world that we have not only accomplished great things but we’ve done it in a manner that we can all be proud of.”
Thompson added, “We are all a bit anxious, relived and excited to finally have those medals around our neck; a very proud moment for us representing TT.
“We have all maintained a level of integrity and represented ourselves, our families, our country to the best of our ability and in the manner that everyone can hold their head up and be very proud of.”