Nine years after finishing third behind a now-banned athlete in the 10,000m at the 2008 Olympic Games, Shalane Flanagan has finally received her silver medal upgrade. The four-time Olympian received the silver medal at her home in Portland, Oregon, on Monday.
"Receiving my proper medal and having the record books changed is a dream come true," Flanagan said in a statement. "I greatly appreciate the USOC's efforts to host a more formal medal ceremony in my honor, but with my coach and my family, I have decided to forego that option and instead celebrate in private. This news, and receiving my medal, are all that I need to feel incredibly fulfilled and happy. I'm honored and proud to officially be the 2008 10,000-meter silver medalist."
Flanagan earned bronze in Beijing after finishing third behind runner-up Elvan Abdeylegesse. The Turkish distance runner was officially disqualified in March 2017 after testing positive for a banned substance in a retest of a sample from the 2007 IAAF World Championships. Flanagan is now the top-placing American woman in history in the Olympic 10,000m.
A four-time Olympian, Flanagan most recently placed sixth in the marathon at the 2016 Olympic Games. The performance led a historic Team USA showing in Rio. Behind Flanagan, fellow Americans Desi Linden and Amy Cragg placed seventh and ninth, respectively, marking the country's best team finish in the event.
"The U.S. Olympic Committee would like to extend its congratulations to Shalane for her outstanding performance in Beijing," USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement. "As one of our country's most decorated distance runners, we commend her for her success on the field of play, as well as her conduct off the field of play. She epitomizes the Olympic values with her integrity, sportsmanship, and unwavering dedication to competitive excellence. On behalf of athletes like Shalane, the USOC is committed to working tirelessly with the global Olympic Movement to help reform international anti-doping efforts."