MONTREAL — Quebec’s Christine Girard has written a page of history, on Thursday, officially becoming the first gold medallist in weightlifting in olympic history in canada.
The international olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed by way of a press release that the lifter will get the gold at the 2012 London Games in the 63 kg. She joins Rosie MacLennan (trampoline), so far the only Canadian athlete to have climbed on the highest step of the podium at the London Games in 2012.
“It seems that I don’t realize it yet, because I do not yet have the medal in my hands, but it is a really special day,” said Girard at the end of the wire. “I have not doubted once that I had done everything in my power to win this gold medal. It is very important that my efforts and those of my coaches, my family and my fans to be rewarded for the way, even if the reward comes after six long years.”
“She is a pioneer in weightlifting; we are extremely proud of her,” said the president of the canadian olympic Committee (COC), Tricia Smith. “Christine has always embodied the values of sport and competition, free of doping. We are particularly thrilled that she gets finally gold medal that rightly belong to them.”
Before it, only Canadians Gerry Gratton and Jacques Demers had received a medal in weightlifting at the olympic Games. Gratton won the silver at 75 kg at the Games of Helsinki, Finland, in 1952, while Demers had climbed on the second step of the podium in the 75 kg to Los Angeles in 1984.
The COC is currently collaborating with the representatives of the IOC to organize a possible awards ceremony in honor of Girard. Now, at age 33 years, it is based in British Columbia since 2008. The mother of three children and her husband Walter Bailey founded a club weightlifting in Surrey.
As to what it might be like a ceremony of dream for her, Girard hesitated. “I don’t know too, I’ve just learned the new and I’m just starting to be discussed with the COC. But it is certain that I want something that is bigger than me. […] It is important that one recognizes this event, and I believe it will send a strong message to the IOC and various sports federations of the world.”
This is the second olympic medal that retrieves Girard after the bronze of the Beijing olympics in 2008. Towards the end of 2016, she had received her medal after the disqualification for doping of the silver medallist, the Kazak Irina Nekrassova.
Four years later, she won the bronze in London. In may 2016, she turned into money when the Kazakh Maiya Maneza had had to return his gold medal to the Russian Svetlana Tzarukaeva… that was pinning his turn to doping a few months later.
“Before, when I thought of my medal from London, I had only good memories”, she had said at the time. “Now, there’s a little bitterness that comes with it, because the medals ceremony, it was a magical moment, but it could have been even more if I had known that I was going to get the gold.”