Those of you who complain about drug-testing authorities going back and stripping away most of Lance Armstrong’s career accomplishments should enjoy seeing the other side of the process: U.S. shot putter Adam Nelson is now the gold medalist in the Athens (2004) Olympics, thanks to a re-test of Yuriy Bilonog’s thawed urine. That sequence of events sounds more archaeological than medical, but the IOC has acted to reassign the medals.
One irony here: In 2004, Adam Nelson had one of the funniest stories about USADA out-of-competition testing. Who knew my hometown of Athens (Georgia, not Greece) was such a party town?
So Nelson gets the medal. But he can never re-create the medal ceremony from ancient Olympia, surely the most amazing atmosphere for a shot put competition in the last millennium or two.
But with a little creativity, sponsors can make up for the marketing opportunities he missed. Maybe Nelson can be at line at the DMV: “You think this is a long wait? I waited eight years to get my gold medal!” Or he could stand alone at Olympia humming the national anthem to himself. Or a shoddy delivery service can hand him a beat-up package with a medal inside, and Nelson can say the IOC should’ve used FedEx.
Maybe combine generations in an ad. It’s about time something impressed McKayla.