THE International Olympic Committee (IOC) could use the 2008 Beijing Olympics to re-award the medals handed back by those guilty of drug offences in the last few years.
Quite a number of medals have been withdrawn by the IOC because of doping scandals, the latest being the one involving Marion Jones and the United States’ 4x400m relay team in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games
These medals should be given to the rightful winners, and what better venue than the Olympics itself to present the medals?
Awarding the medals during the Olympics will drive home the message for a drug-free competition, and the Beijing Olympics could set the precedent for re-awarding the withdrawn or forfeited medals.
Medals withdrawn between the previous Olympics and the current one in Beijing should be awarded at a special ceremony. Awarding the medals in a private ceremony will not give it the blaze of publicity for those who unfairly lost to the drug cheats.
A special event like this in the Olympics will vindicate the drug-free competitors and ensure that the IOC’s message gets across to all athletes, trainers, coaches, officials and spectators.
One can recall that the IOC had already done something similar when it awarded Muhamamd Ali the gold medal he won in boxing at the 1960 Rome Olympics, and which he had reportedly thrown into a river as a sign of protest against discrimination in the United States.
The IOC’s gesture won it global acclaim and publicity during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
V. THOMASSungai Buloh
New Straits Times