Canadian weightlifter Christine Girard appears one step closer to becoming an Olympic gold medallist.
The International Olympic Committee has stripped Russia’s Svetlana Tzarukaeva of the silver medal she won at the London Olympics after retesting of her samples showed evidence of the prohibited substance dehydrochlormethyltestosterone.
Girard was the bronze medallist in the 63-kilogram class in 2012 but with gold medallist Maiya Maneza already stripped of her result for a positive retest last fall, the Canadian should eventually be promoted to the top of the podium.
The IOC did not clarify in a release announcing the sanctions Wednesday how the medals would be redistributed.
The 32-year-old Girard, who grew up in Rouyn-Noranda, Que., and now coaches weightlifters in the Vancouver area, became the first Canadian woman to win an Olympic weightlifting medal when she finished third in London.
Olympic weightlifting medals are determined by the sum of each lifter’s best result in the snatch and the clean and jerk, with three attempts allowed in each.
With a total of 236 kilograms, Girard narrowly lost out to Tsarukaeva’s 237 in London.
Uzbek wrestler Artur Taymazov, who won a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and Ukrainian wrestler Vasyl Fedoryshyn, who won silver, have been ordered by the IOC to return their medals due to doping infractions.
The IOC, which stores doping samples for 10 years, reanalyzed more than 1,000 samples from Beijing and London with improved techniques that can detect the use of steroids going back weeks and months, rather than days.
It may be a while before Girard receives her upgraded hardware.
Appeals, and the time it takes for international and domestic sports federations to deal with the stripping of a medal, means a medal redistribution can move at a glacial pace.
Canadian shot-putter Dylan Armstrong received a bronze medal from Beijing over six years after finishing fourth there.
But the IOC seems to be moving with more urgency on doping matters given the barrage of criticism is has taken recently.
Canadian cross-country skier Beckie Scott had two separate ceremonies months apart upgrading her 2002 Olympic bronze to silver and then to gold.