From the day Olympians receive gold medals, their lives are never the same.
– T.J. Quinn on the premise for OTL’s “Delayed Gold”
Often forgotten is the name of the silver or bronze medalists, but those who win the gold are long-remembered and the financial benefits are sometimes plentiful.
But what happens when a gold medalist is found cheating, when the shining moment really belonged to a runner-up?
For Sunday’s Outside the Lines (9 a.m. ET, ESPN), reporter T.J. Quinn and producer Andrew Lockett spoke with the Olympians whose futures would look a lot different had they received their gold at the time it was deserved.
“I wondered what it must feel like to be told, sometimes years after the fact, that you’re an Olympic champion,” Quinn said. “For every doping positive, there are athletes whose entire lives were affected.”
OTL’s “Delayed Gold” focuses the lens on the clean athletes. It gives viewers an opportunity to walk in their shoes and feel the emotions they felt.
“When [Canadian cross-country skier] Beckie Scott says it really gutted her that the two Russians cheated, it is a powerful moment in the piece,” Lockett said. “You see all three of the women smiling in the Olympic fellowship and Beckie is being completely duped in that exact moment.”
Quinn and Lockett hope the piece will have a lasting effect on people, especially heading into the 2016 Summer Olympics.
“The entire anti-doping movement is based on the idea of protecting clean athletes,” said Quinn. “So, as we head to Rio, what does it say that 18 years into the modern anti-doping movement there are still so many athletes caught cheating every year?”
Nine doping cases were reported in the 2012 London Olympics, a decrease from the 20 reported in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Will the pattern continue in Rio?
“I hope viewers are outraged,” said Lockett. “Recent headlines highlight the doping problem but people don’t realize the delayed gold outcome and what a total rip off emotionally and fiscally that is for the athletes who were and who are competing clean.”
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