For the past eight years, Adam Nelson has kept the silver medal he won at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens Greece in a sock drawer.
On Wednesday, he learned that silver medal, no matter where he keeps it, should've been gold.
The man who beat him in the men's shot-put competition in 2004 was stripped of his gold medal on Wednesday.
Yuriy Bilonog of Ukraine tested positive for steroids, according to the International Olympic Committee.
"He has lived the gold medal experience for the last eight years," Nelson said. "And I hope at some level he finds a great deal of shame in his decisions. If you cheat you are robbing that experience from someone else, who has worked just as hard, or harder and did it the right way."
According to the International Olympic Committees' website, "the IOC stores samples for eight years after each edition of the Games so they can be retested should more sophisticated detection methods become available or new substances be added to the list of banned substances."
Bilonog tested positive for oxandrolone metabolite after a retest. His results following the 2004 Olympic Games were negative. Bilonog was retested earlier this year by a more advanced test, using the most sophisticated detection methods available.
According to the disciplinary report Bilonog "is disqualified from the Men's Shot Put event where he had placed first at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, and shall have his medal and diploma in the above-mentioned event withdrawn."
Nelson said he doesn't know how to feel knowing a cheater almost got away with a gold medal.
"Well, I think it's something I thought about a lot over the past two days," Nelson said. "There is no way we will beat all cheaters, but I think it is getting better with testing."
Nelson said it feels good to win the medal for the country, for his family and himself. All of the hard work Nelson has put into his sport took dedication and determination. When someone dopes, or uses performance enhancing drugs, Nelson said it taints the sport and most importantly sets a bad example for children.
"If kids today don't believe they can achieve greatness without cheating we are going to see a whole generation of people who were told that they have to cheat to win," Nelson said. "The real celebration for this medal is the fact the U.S. is getting this medal, we should have had eight years ago, and it is sending a message to our children that cheating in sports and doping is not allowed."
Nelson said he will never stand on the podium and hear the national anthem played but is happy that the man who worked hard and didn't cheat is finally getting all the credit.
"It feels awesome, that is the thing I am most happy about," Nelson said. "I think there are still people today who tell Olympic hopefuls you can't do it without drugs, but I can tell you it is possible."
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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