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Olympic 2012 gold a boost for Rio: Tallent

  • Olympic 2012 gold a boost for Rio: Tallent

    Walker Jared Tallent says finally receiving his Olympic gold medal is a victory for clean sport.

Jared Tallent says finally being presented with his Olympic gold medal is a massive motivation ahead of the Rio Games.

A four-year wait ended when walker Tallent was rightfully declared men's 50km walk Olympic champion at a ceremony on Friday in Melbourne.

Tallent was presented with the gold medal he should have won at the London Games in 2012 but for Russian drug cheat Sergey Kirdyapkin.

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) stripped Kirdyapkin of the medal in March, paving the way for Tallent to receive the medal just before leaving Australia to continue his preparations for the August Rio Olympics.

"It means everything to me to have the ceremony held now before I head off overseas on Monday to prepare for Rio," Tallent said.

"To have the gold medal in my hand, I'm the Olympic champion and have got everything that comes with it so, when I stand on the start line in Rio, I will have all the motivation and confidence that I need to hopefully go on and defend the title.

"To stand on that start line, knowing I was the Olympic champion without the gold medal, that would have been devastating."

The 31-year-old from country Victoria becomes one of just seven Australian men to win Olympic gold and he has the complete set, having claimed silver in the 50km and bronze in the 20km event at the 2008 Beijing Games.

He said he felt he was one of the lucky athletes.

"There are athletes in my event in the past who have missed out on medals so I'm very much one of the lucky ones," Tallent said.

"I feel really sorry and sad for those athletes who have missed out."

While Tallent was thrilled to receive the gold medal, he felt bitter he had to wait so long for "justice to be served".

"This day was amazing but it should have happened in London 1405 days ago - that's when I should have received the gold medal.

"This is a clear message we don't want drug cheats at the Olympic Games; we want hard-working, honest athletes there."

He said he would be angry if Kirdyapkin and the Russian track and field team were able to compete in Rio and there wouldn't be any love lost.

"The evidence is quite clear - Russia haven't made the changes necessary to be there.

"I wouldn't talk to him; I wouldn't shake his hand; I wouldn't even look at him. I would just concentrate on my race."

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