Kelly Sotherton will officially be a triple Olympic medallist at tonight’s Team GB Ball when she is awarded the heptathlon bronze from the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Sotherton had originally finished fifth 10 years ago but disqualification for Ukraine’s Lyudmila Blonska and Russia’s Tatyana Chernova means Sotherton adds to her bronze medals from the Athens 2004 heptathlon and the Beijing 2008 4x400m relay.
Blonska originally claimed silver in Beijing but was disqualified three days after the end of the competition after testing positive for methyltestosterone, promoting Russia’s Tatyana Chernova into the bronze medal spot and Sotherton into fourth.
Chernova was then herself disqualified for doping offences in April last year and despite appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the decision was upheld in December, promoting Sotherton into the bronze medal spot.
The Team GB Ball is the second occasion the 41-year-old has been awarded an Olympic medal a decade on from the Games, having been given the 4x400m relay bronze at this year’s Müller Anniversary Games.
Sotherton and teammates Christine Ohuruogu, Marilyn Okoro and Nicola Sanders were officially upgraded to third place in July following doping violations from the Russian and Belarussian teams.
In winning heptathlon bronze, Sotherton becomes only the fifth female track and field athlete from the UK to win three Olympic medals and is now one of eight Team GB athletes from Beijing 2008 to win multiple medals.
Sotherton will presented with the bronze medal by Sir Hugh Robertson, Chairman of the British Olympic Association, at the Team GB Ball at London’s Royal Horticultural Halls in front of a room of fellow Olympians.
Kelly Sotherton said: “It’ll be a nice feeling leading into it. Until I have the medal I don’t really know how I’m feeling. The 4x400m medal in the summer was great but I trained as a heptathlete and that’s the medal that I really want and it will mean quite a lot to get it.
“It’ll close a chapter of my athletics career. Receiving a medal 10 years after I should have got it is a little bittersweet but it indicates the career I had and it will finally confirm me as a three-time Olympic medallist.
“When I found out in April 2017, it was very emotional. It was the start of the journey because you never know when you’re going to get that medal. I got the call last month to say it had arrived and I couldn’t wait any longer.
“I wanted to get my hands on it. I had the option of waiting until Tokyo which would have been amazing but that’s too far away, I just want to have the medal. When my family see me with all three medals I’m sure they’ll be just as happy and emotional as I will be.”
Sir Hugh Robertson said: “No occasion can ever replace the opportunity to stand in an Olympic stadium and receive the just rewards for years of dedication and commitment.
“Tonight, it is a privilege to honour Kelly’s achievements at Beijing 2008 and congratulate her on the bronze medal.
“To be a three-time Olympic medallist is an incredible accomplishment and Kelly should be rightly proud of her outstanding athletics career.”
The bronze now takes Team GB’s total at Beijing 2008 to 50 medals - 19 gold, 13 silver and 18 bronze – with the British Olympic Association still waiting on confirmation of the amended results and reallocated medals from the women’s javelin.
The process of reallocation begins with the sanctioning of athletes following the retesting of samples from the Olympic Games. Those disqualified athletes then have a right to appeal.
If a disqualified athlete’s appeal is unsuccessful, the IOC is only then able to officially reallocate the medals and will do so informing the British Olympic Association.