Demus will receive the medal in the  9 August Champions Park ceremony. GETTY IMAGES

After a 12-year wait, the American hurdler will be among ten Olympians who will be awarded reallocated Olympic medals in a special ceremony at the Champions Park in the Trocadéro Gardens, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.

41-year-old Lashinda Demus came in second in the London 2012 Games’ 400 metre hurdles race. She took the silver medal and watched from the podium how Natalya Antyukh celebrated her gold. It was proven later that the winner wasn’t really so, however, as the Russian tested positive for doping.

“It wasn’t in my mindset that anyone who beats me is automatically dirty. I didn’t let that infiltrate my thinking,” Demus recently told The Associated Press. “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.”

Now, it will be the American’s turn to see what it feels like to be considered number one, as she is set to finally receive the gold medal and party accordingly with family, friends and fans in exactly the same setting where more than 1,000 athletes will celebrate their achievements during the 2024 Games.

Nine other athletes will also get to enjoy their shining moment under the Paris sun thanks to the reallocation ceremony at the Summer Games, the first of its kind organised by the International Olympic Committee.

“We are very much looking forward to seeing athletes receive their Olympic medals in a venue that will provide such a spectacular backdrop and electric atmosphere,” said the Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, Emma Terho. “These ceremonies result from the athletes' voice being taking into account in decision-making, as the IOC Executive Board supported the recommendation from the IOC AC, which also had the strong support of the Paris 2024 AC.”

Besides Demus, fellow American high jumper Erik Kynard will receive his gold medal, with silver medals being awarded to Canadian Derek Drouin and Czech Zuzana Hejnova. Bronze medals will go to Beverly McDonald, Kaliese Spencer and Chelsea Hammond-Ross, from Jamaica, Tarek Yehia Fouad Abdelazim, from Egypt, Sang-Guen Jeon, from Korea and Abeba Aregawi, from Ethiopia. Hejnova and Spencer finished behind Demus in the London Games.

Demus will receive the medal in the  9 August Champions Park ceremony. GETTY IMAGES
Demus will receive the medal in the 9 August Champions Park ceremony. GETTY IMAGES

This particular option for honouring athletes who were beaten by cheaters was made available as an exception, following the IOC Executive Board’s approval of a recommendation in March 2024 to include Champions Park as an additional venue option for medal reallocation ceremonies. The option of receiving reallocated Olympic medals at Champions Park is available to athletes who have already had their reallocation approved by the IOC before the Paris Games but have not yet had their ceremony.

For more than six years now, athletes have been able to choose from a menu of six different options to receive their reallocated Olympic medals in a way that recognises their achievements and gives them exposure. The options also include a private ceremony. All these options are detailed in the Olympic Medal Reallocation Principles that were proposed and approved by the IOC.

AP reported that Demus negotiated a deal to receive the medal in the  9 August Champions Park ceremony thanks to a lawyer who advised her not to  accept the IOC’s first offer, which usually involves a more subdued function at a national or world championship event. “I would have appreciated a little more, I guess, glitz and glam for people who are receiving their medals. 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 said.

Before Olympic medals can be reallocated, every athlete must be given due process and all legal proceedings need to be exhausted, the IOC states. Once approved, the athlete, along with their respective national Olympic committee, can choose which option they would like to proceed with in order to receive their deserved reward.

“One thing I did know was that I was on an international stage... and whatever happens, I wanted to receive this upgrade on an international stage,” Demus said, while sharing a not-so-optimistic message about the current doping landscape. “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,” the 400-meter hurdles champion concluded.