On Dec. 11 the Japan Olympic Committee announced that Japan's 2008 Beijing Olympics men's 4x100 m relay team has been officially elevated from the bronze medal position to silver. The leading runner for former gold medalists Jamaica, Nesta Carter, tested positive for prohibited substances in an antidoping test, leading to the IOC stripping the Jamaican team of its medals. Carter appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport but lost the appeal in June this year. The International Olympic Committee released a statement on the official change in status on Dec. 7. A medal ceremony will be held for the four team members at a later date.
The Japanese national team ran 38.15 at the Beijing Olympics. Its four members in running order were Naoki Tsukahara, Shingo Suetsugu, Shinji Takahira and Nobuharu Asahara. Their bronze medal was only the second Japanese Olympic medal on the track in history, the first coming 80 years earlier at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics where Kinue Hitomi won silver in the women's 800 m.
Now a member of the JAAF's Athlete Commission, Takahira expressed mixed feelings about the change in status, commenting through a JAAF statement, "The bronze medals that we won together at the 2008 Beijing Olympics will now be changed to silver. In the ten years since then Japanese sprinting has grown into an era in which it has become globally competitive, and this is thanks in large part to the support and encouragement of the general public. We thank you all. But the sad reality is that underlying this wonderful result is a violation of the rules of the sport. We never had the opportunity to stand on the Olympic podium is the position that we truly earned."
translated and edited by Brett Larner