Friends. Who’d have them? They always let you down don’t they?
Usain Bolt could be forgiven for thinking these words following the news that his ‘triple treble’ of Olympic gold medals is no more, after his 4x100m relay team-mate Nesta Carter failed a drug test at the Beijing Olympics back in 2008.
Bolt claimed an unprecedented clean sweep of medals, winning the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at the 2008 Beijing, 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympics, but now he will have have to hand back one of those hard-earned nuggets after Carter tested positive for the banned stimulant Methylhexanamine.
Bolt was surprisingly phlegmatic about the development, saying, “It’s heartbreaking because over the years you’ve worked hard to accumulate gold medals and work hard to be a champion – but it’s just one of those things. Things happen in life, so when it’s confirmed or whatever, if I need to give back my gold medal I’d have to give it back, it’s not a problem for me.”
The banned substance was found following the retesting of 454 frozen blood and urine samples from Beijing last year, using the latest scientific techniques to try and find drugs cheats ahead of the Rio games, although it took until today for the IOC to confirm the news. Carter did not compete in Rio while he awaited the final verdict.
With Jamaica now retrospective disqualified, the whole team – Carter, Bolt, Asafa Powell and Michael Frater – will now lose their medals. Trinidad and Tobago have been promoted to gold, Japan to silver, and Brazil have moved up to claim bronze medals.
They set a then world-record time of 37.10s in Beijing, which was subsequently beaten at the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Olympics by the team, with Yohann Blake in place of Asafa Powell – this will now be scrubbed from the record books.
The decision is another sad day in the history of athletics’ relationship with drugs – Blake and Powell have both already been punished for failed drugs tests while every man other than Bolt to run under 9.79s for the 100m has served a drugs ban at some point in their career.