American Olympian Lashinda Demus to receive gold medal at Paris ceremony 12 years after 2nd-place finish

Lashinda Demus was awarded the silver medal after finishing in second place in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2012 London Olympics. She was .07 seconds behind Russia’s Natalya Antyukh.

However, 12 years later, the American Olympian will be awarded the gold medal at the Paris Games later this summer as Antyukh was found to be among the Russian athletes doping.

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Demus, 41, fought to have her medal awarded at Champions Park in Paris in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. She sought more than just a pro forma commemoration.

“I would have appreciated a little more, I guess, glitz and glam for people who are receiving their medals,” she told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “It’s a work in progress. I’m pushing on in good faith. I’m glad I’m at the forefront in this. I can literally say that I am the trailblazer of this movement.”

Demus believes she took a major hit financially with the second-place finish. She also admitted she realized at the time that Antyukh had never beaten her before the hurdles event.

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“But it wasn’t in my mindset that anyone who beats me is automatically dirty. I didn’t let that infiltrate my thinking,” Demus said. “I just kind of accepted that I lost and I tried my best to move on. But it was a five- or six-year process of me just getting over failing at something I’d trained my whole life to do.”

American high jumper Erik Kynard is also expected to receive a medal at the Aug. 9 ceremony.

“It doesn’t break my heart,” Demus added. “But what comes to mind is that (doping) is never going to leave. I don’t think anything has changed since the big Russian scandal. I think it’s always going to be there.”

Demus finished her career with the lone Olympic gold medal. She also won two gold medals at the 2009 and 2011 World Championships respectively.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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