A movement to have a proper medal ceremony for Lovett School alumnus Adam Nelson is brewing on the Internet.
Nelson won a silver medal after competing in the shotput event of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. However, Nelson will now likely receive the gold since it’s been recently discovered that the winner, Ukraine’s Yuriy Bilonog, was using performance-enhancing drugs.
On the LetsRun.com message boards, some are discussing the possibility of awarding Nelson’s rightfully earned gold medal during the 2016 Olympic games in Rio.
In a recent Sports Illustrated column, Tim Layden writes, “USA Track and Field should celebrate the moment as it would any other gold medal.” Layden suggests that the IAAF could award Nelson the gold at the world championships in Moscow.
According to an AJC blog, Nelson keeps the silver medals (including one he won in Sydney in 2000) in a sock drawer. He says winning the medals was not his main motivation.
Although Nelson said his motivation was to represent the U.S. and challenging himself, he does feel “robbed” of the experience of winning the gold at the Olympics Games.
He never stood on the highest level of the Olympic winners’ podium. He never heard his name called while the U.S. national anthem played.
“To be robbed of that moment and that experience is something that can never be replaced,” Nelson stated in the blog post.
“To celebrate in that setting is probably the greatest loss,” Nelson told 11 Alive.
His story has been featured in local media, in Sports Illustrated and even on the front page of the New York Times.
2012 was the last official year for athletes from the 2004 Olympic games to be disqualified by the International Olympic Committee executive board.
Bilonog was one of the four winners disqualified after his doping sample was retested earlier in the year and found to be positive for steroids.
No action has been taken on reallocating the medals. The IOC is requesting the return of the four medals, along with an adjustment of the results and rankings from the Athens Games, from the International Association of Athletics Federations, reports the Associated Press.
Nelson said he would probably just receive his Olympic gold medal in a box in the mail. The 37-year-old is retired as an athlete and living in Athens, where he's opening a sports performance center.
Even if he doesn't get a medal, Nelson said in a recent Associated Press article, that he is just proud that he gave it his all and did so the "right way" without performance-enhancing drugs, keeping a promise he'd made to his father when he was a teenager, according to the Associated Press report.
The news came just months after Nelson failed to qualify for the 2012 Games.
Layden wrote, “If the message is clean athletes deserve medals, then deliver it with all the power of the sport.”
Do you think Nelson should be awarded his gold medal during the upcoming Olympics? Tell us what you think in the comments below.