British Olympic Association chairman Sir Hugh Robertson has hailed the news that the country's four-man bobsleigh have been upgraded to the bronze medal at Sochi 2014 following the disqualification of Russia for doping but is angry it has taken so long to resolve.
The new medal allocation was finally confirmed here yesterday by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board following the disqualification of Russia's Alexandr Zubkov and his team-mates for doping offences.
The British four of John Jackson, Stuart Benson, Bruce Tasker and Joel Fearon originally finished fifth at Sochi 2014, just 0.11 seconds off third, but disqualification for athletes in both Russian sleds for doping offences means the British crew are now Olympic bronze medallists.
"Everyone involved in British Olympic sport, and most particularly the athletes, will be delighted by the overdue award of the four-man bob bronze medal from Sochi," Sir Hugh said.
"However, it is yet another example of British athletes being denied their moment of podium glory by state-sponsored cheating."
It's been officially announced to. We are now the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, 4 Man Bobsleigh OLYMPIC BRONZE MEDALISTS 👏👏👏🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳 pic.twitter.com/P3elD6ffRG— John Jackson OLY (@JohnJacksonGB) March 28, 2019
Jackson admitted to bittersweet feelings about the moment.
"Recognition from the IOC of the result is a big step forward to us receiving our Olympic bronze medal," he said.
"Disappointingly, it is a medal we should have received on an Olympic podium in 2014.
"Cheats have cost us that moment, along with other nations, too."
Latvia's Oskars Melbārdis, Arvis Vilkaste, Daumants Dreiškens and Jānis Strenga were upgraded to first place – Latvia's first gold medal in the Winter Olympics.
The American four, piloted by the late Steven Holcomb, moved into silver medal position.
That long-awaited bronze medal moment... 🥉— Team GB (@TeamGB) March 28, 2019
🇬🇧 four-man bobsleigh quartet have officially been upgraded to bronze, making Sochi 2014 our joint most successful Olympic Winter Games pic.twitter.com/4bRp05Aeyo
The bronze increases to five Team GB’s medal total from Sochi 2014 after Lizzy Yarnold’s skeleton gold, Jenny Jones's snowboard slopestyle bronze and silver and bronze medals for the men’s and women’s curling rinks, respectively.
Sochi 2014 is also now Team GB’s joint-most successful Winter Olympics, drawing level with the five medals won last year at Pyeongchang 2018.
"John, Stuart, Bruce and Joel have waited more than five years for confirmation for what I’m sure they have known all along," said Mike Hay, Britain's Chef de Mission at Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018.
"Their patience and dignity throughout this time is to their huge credit and it’s incredibly pleasing to finally be able to refer to them all as Olympic bronze medallists.”
Zubkov and team-mate Alexey Voyevoda were also stripped of their gold medal in the two-man event.
Switzerland's Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann were upgraded to the gold medal, Holcomb and team-mate Steve Langton to silver and Latvia's Oskars Melbārdis and Daumants Dreiskens to third.