19 July, 2018

Olympic women's relay team to receive Beijing bronze at Müller Anniversary Games

The Great Britain women’s 4x400m relay team from the Beijing Olympic Games 2008 will finally receive their bronze medals in front of a passionate home crowd at the London Stadium during the Müller Anniversary Games on Saturday 21 July.

The quartet of Christine Ohuruogu (coach: Lloyd Cowan), Kelly Sotherton (Aston Moore), Marilyn Okoro (Ayo Falola), and Nicola Sanders (Tony Lester) were originally placed fifth in the final in the Beijing National Stadium, known as the Bird’s Nest.

But, in 2016, a reanalysis of samples from the 2008 Games resulted in a doping violation by Russia’s Tatyana Firova.  The Belarus anchor runner Sviatlana Vusovich was also found guilty of a doping violation. Accordingly, the Russian team was disqualified and stripped of their silver medals with Belarus, who were originally placed fourth, also disqualified.  The Jamaica team was promoted from Bronze to Silver with the British team securing third place.

Their bronze medals will be presented after 13:50 during Saturday’s event programme.

Christine Ohuruogu, who won the 400m individual Gold at the same Olympic Games, said:

“Hearing the news that we are to receive our bronze medals stirs up a series of emotions. Of course, I am happy that we are finally getting the reward and recognition that our performance on the day deserved, but there is still some frustration that we never had ‘our moment’ at the time, and that it has taken 10 years to get to this stage.

“However, I look forward to sharing the podium with the other girls at the Anniversary Games and hope that everybody in my team who helped me get to that point also shares a sense of pride in the achievement and feels vindicated for all the work.”

Heptathlete Kelly Sotherton said:

“I finally feel satisfied we got what the team deserved. To run the time we did and not medal and finish fifth was hard.

“To have a podium experience 10 years on obviously isn’t ideal, but I am overwhelmed that we all get to stand in an Olympic Stadium in front of a British crowd to receive something that vindicates our performance. A great outcome regardless of the delay.”

Nicola Sanders, who ran the anchor leg and retired in 2014, added:

“I am really excited to finally get our bronze medal from Beijing even if it is 10 years after the event. Getting it presented at the Anniversary Games in the Olympic Stadium is a great way to finally celebrate our achievement in front of a home crowd and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Marilyn Okoro, who ran the third leg and was also part of the 4x400m relay team which won bronze at the 2007 World Championships, said:

It’s bittersweet. On the one hand I’m delighted to be an Olympic medallist; Beijing has always been my favourite championships, however, 10 years later to be receiving this medal comes with a heaviness thinking back to what should have been our moment in the moment in Beijing.

“I’m still delighted to get on the podium in front of family and friends in London. I am reminded that delay is not denial.”

Sir Hugh Robertson, Chairman of the British Olympic Association said:

“We are delighted to be able to present the medals to the women’s 4x400m relay team this weekend. These athletes sadly missed out, due to doping cheats, on the opportunity to celebrate in Beijing ten years ago, so it seems only fitting that they are recognised and are able to celebrate in front of the home crowd with their friends and family.”

The Müller Anniversary Games takes place across Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 July with a host of world, Paralympic and Olympic champions taking part.

For tickets to see the world’s best athletes at the Müller Anniversary Games go to www.britishathletics.org.uk