Track star Lashinda Demus set to receive gold medal after Russian athlete found guilty of doping in 2012 Olympics

Natalya Antyukh had her medal stripped after evidence against her was collected from an anti-doping lab in Russia.

Russian 400-meter hurdler Natalya Antyukh is caught up in a doping scandal that has cost her the gold medal from the 2012 London Games,  CBS News reports.

Now more than a decade after the race, retired American track star Lashinda Demus, who initially finished second, will be named Olympic champion, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), announced Wednesday. Zuzana Hejnová of the Czech Republic and Kaliese Spencer of Jamaica will receive silver and bronze medals, respectively.

Olympics Day 13 - Athletics
Silver medalist Lashinda Demus of the United States poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women’s 400m Hurdles on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on Aug. 9, 2012, in London. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“I’m not afraid to say that I then deserve the official title, medal, recognition, and missed compensation that goes along with it all,” said Demus in an email exchange with NBC Sports.

Antyukh was already serving a four-year ban prior to the official ruling, according to AIU, which oversees doping cases in track and field. The allegations against her surfaced in October when the added penalty was handed down to strip Antyukh of her results from July 2012 through June 2013, CBS reports. She did not appeal the ruling, so the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to reallocate medals.

The ruling was based on evidence from the database of an anti-doping laboratory in Moscow. This lab was reportedly at the center of a years-long battle between Russian authorities and the World Anti-Doping Agency. The AIU did not specify what documentation was collected against Antyukh, but it was damaging enough to disqualify her in every event she competed in from July 15, 2012, through June 29, 2013, according to Sports Star

American retired sprinter Michael Johnson said the news is “both the right thing and incredibly upsetting,” he wrote on Twitter

Johnson noted that Demus was “robbed” of being an Olympic champion.

“I received my medal in front my family and the world, reaped the financial benefits with endorsements, and lived life as an Olympic Champion from that moment. Lashinda Demus was robbed of that. I couldn’t imagine!”

Demus stopped competing in 2016.

As CBS reports, the AIU said the IOC will now “proceed with the reallocation of medals and the update of the IOC database.”

“The AIU remains committed to investigating all cases of potential violations and securing the appropriate outcomes,” AIU Head Brett Clothier said in a statement. “The integrity of the sport of athletics is our utmost priority and we are pleased, in this instance, that athletes who competed fairly at the highest level will ultimately be acknowledged as the rightful medal winners.” 

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