The longest race has ended for Canada's poster girl for drug-free sport.
Perky Beckie Scott stood on a makeshift podium yesterday,
alone, atop the world in her sporting discipline,
and definitely not flanked by two cheating Russians.


Canada wasn't going to stand for unfairness.

UPDATE! Beckie finally gets her gold medal. Globe & Mail, Jun 26, 2004*

If there were a "Canadian of the Year" award it could in all honesty go to Beckie Scott for the mental, physical, and moral courage she exhibited in not only earning the gold medal in cross-country skiing in the 2002 Olympics but also in fighting for the medal after it was wrongfully given to her competition. She stood up to the Olympic establishment and the governments of free and communist nations who conspired to smother her glory.

Having a court award her the gold medal two years after her win is certainly not how she deserved to receive it. In all fairness she should have been standing on the podium the day of the race and had it placed around her neck for all Canadians to see and share.

Instead the gold and silver medals were ceremoniously placed around the necks of two cheaters and liars from the Soviet Union. They'd used oxygen-enhancers in their blood to give them more stamina. Beckie Scott had run the race on her own cardiovascular system, with her heart doing all the pumping of oxygen into her blood. And if anyone has ever cross-country skied they would know how grueling it is on every sinew of the body, especially the heart and lungs. The physical stamina required for cross-country skiing is probably the highest of any other sport. It's the sport whose athletes I admire most in the winter Olympics because I have some idea of what it takes to get there, it being the one winter sport I partake in, albeit on a very low level, comparatively.

Another thing that was so wonderful about Beckie Scott winning that race and fighting for what is right is that she is Canadian and it's nice once in awhile for the world to see strong and brave Canadians. Mostly the world sees us as a nation of whining wimps run by non-descript politicians who talk about nothing but money, taxes and each other. They're pigs right out of Animal Farm.

Another thing I like about Beckie Scott is that she comes from Vermilion, namesake of a northern town I'm connected to through my maternal grandfather, Louis Bourassa. He ALSO was a medal winner due to winter activity. He earned the Order of the British Empire for delivering the Royal Mail by dogsled from Peace River to Fort Vermilion, the toughest mail route in the country. He's a legend in the north and a poem has been written about him.

Beckie Scott is a shining example of someone diligently pursuing justice in a corrupt system. She's an inspiration and a role-model.~ Jackie Jura

*Beckie Scott finally gets her gold medal ceremony
By Grant Kerr & James Christie, Globe & Mail, Jun 26, 2004

VANCOUVER -- The longest race has ended for Canada's poster girl for drug-free sport. When perky Beckie Scott stood on a makeshift podium yesterday, she was alone, atop the world in her sporting discipline, and definitely not flanked by two cheating rivals, as she had been 26 months earlier on a chilly February evening in Salt Lake City. Ms. Scott experienced her crowning moment when she saw the Canadian flag raised in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery while she proudly sang the national anthem and displayed her cherished Olympic gold medal. Oddly enough, the determined cross-country skier from Vermilion, Alta., now has had possession of all three medals from the women's five-kilometre free pursuit at the 2002 Winter Olympics. "It's a fantastic day, a great day," she said. "In some ways I'm still in disbelief that it's actually here.

After she won bronze at Salt Lake City, exhaustive appeals by the Canadian Olympic Committee on her behalf finally brought the highest prize for an amateur athlete. Ms. Scott, 29, had finished third in the Olympics, behind two Russian skiers, who later would be disqualified for using banned substances. The appeals for a change in the final race order would last nearly two years before the Court of Arbitration for Sport decided Ms. Scott deserved the gold medal.

"The people of Canada have been more supportive than I could have ever dreamed," she said. Charmaine Crooks, a Canadian member of the International Olympic Committee, made the presentation after a video of Ms. Scott's performance was shown on a large screen outside the gallery. "This is a real victory for athletes who fight for a doping-free sport," Ms. Crooks said. The ceremony occurred in almost the identical place as a 1968 gathering to welcome home Nancy Greene-Raine when the Canadian alpine skier returned after her gold medal performance in the women's giant slalom at Grenoble. There were 14 Canadian Olympians on hand including Ms. Crooks, who represented Canada many times as a runner. "This is a hugely significant day for Canadian sport," COC president Michael Chambers said. "In this case, Canada wasn't going to stand for unfairness." The disgraced Russian skiers were Olga Danilova and Larissa Lazutina. Ms. Danilova tested positive for a banned drug before the Olympics and Ms. Scott was awarded the silver medal in June of 2003. The arbitration court then disqualified Ms. Lazutina for a positive test during the Olympics and Ms. Scott became a gold medalist last December, having to wait until yesterday to get the medal, the same one that had been given to Ms. Lazutina in Salt Lake City.

Ms. Scott called it a powerful, emotional moment when she finally touched the medal as she tried not to cry during the presentation. She was unsure if she will compete in the next Winter Olympics in 2006 in Turin, Italy. "I'm just taking a little break and evaluating where I'm at and where I want to go," she added. "It's a question of if I have what it takes to go on another two years."

Arbitration upgrades Beckie Scott from bronze, to silver, to gold
2002 Olympics
National Post, Dec 18, 2003

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Almost two years after the Salt Lake City Games, Canadian cross-country skier Beckie Scott is an Olympic champion. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled Thursday that the 29-year-old from Vermilion, Alta., should be upgraded to gold because of doping infractions by the Russian winner. Scott had already been moved from third to second place because of a doping infraction by the silver medallist, another Russian.

But on Thursday, the Canadian won her battle to finish ahead of both Russians.

At issue was whether the Olympic Charter allowed the International Olympic Committee to strip the two Russians of medals they had won in Salt Lake prior to failing a drug test. Scott became the first North American woman to win a cross-country Olympic medal when she finished third in the five-kilometre pursuit. Olga Danilova won the gold and Larissa Lazutina silver. Following a later race, both Danilova and Lazutina tested positive for darbepoetin, which boosts the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to muscles.

The IOC allowed Lazutina to keep her silver medals from the pursuit and the 10-kilometre combined and Danilova to retain her silver from the 10-kilometre classic and the pursuit gold because they had passed drug tests following those races. Eventually Lazutina lost her medals after it was learned she had tested positive for blood doping at World Cup races prior to the Games. That made her ineligible for subsequent competitions like the Olympics. So Scott was upgraded to silver but Danilova still retained the gold medal.

During an appearance before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the Canadian Olympic Committee argued the Olympic Charter says any athlete caught cheating at a Games should have all their medals removed. Under new rules laid down by the World Anti-Doping Agency, an athlete who fails a drug test forfeits any and all medals won at that competition. Danilova and Lazutina had used various legal challenges to fight losing their medals. They even filed a protest with the European Court of Human Rights arguing they were denied a fair trail and sought $1 million US each in compensation.


Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~