Norcross–Olympic Shot Putter Adam Nelson left Athens, Greece with a Silver medal in 2004.The graduate of Atlanta’s Lovett School had lived a dream.Not only did he earn a spot on the United States Olympic team, but he would take part in the Shot Put.It would be the only event during the Athens games to be held at Olympia, the site of the original Olympic games. Adam’s final and best throw was wiped out by a foul, allowing Yuriy Bilonog of Ukraine to take the Gold medal.
Some 8 years later a retroactive sample of blood that was tested proved positive for steroids.Bilonog was ordered to return the Gold medal and Nelson’s status wasadam nelson with gold elevated from Silver to Gold. Imagine, after all this time, Adam Nelson was going to get the Gold medal that he so rightfully deserved. It was a reward for an undersized shot putter who made a commitment to working hard and competeing clean.
After waiting months and weeks to make the exchanged, Adam and the Olympic committee finally settled on a date, time and meeting place. Adam was instructed to drive from his home in Athens, Georgia to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport to meet the Olympic representative. Adam says what resulted was one of the more unusualy encounterd he has ever been a part of . ” I met the Olympic representive in the atrium of the airport, the foot court”, says Nelson. ” People were walking around, going about their usual day. We sat down at a table and I brought out my silver medal, while he brought out the gold medal. We took the time to look them over, they we made the exchange”.There was no ceremony, and not even a picture was taken. “That was it, we went our separate ways”, sais Nelson. “It was one of the most unusual exchanges that I have ever been a part of.”
This weekend Adam Nelson was special guest and keynote speaker at USATF Georgia’s annual meeting in Norcross. There he received a hero’s welcome from the state’s track and field officials and coaches. After speaking to the packed room, Nelson reached into his pocket and pulled out the 2004 Shot Put Gold medal and at the crowds request placed it around his neck.At last, Adam Nelson, Olympic Gold Medalist was celebrated in a room filled with people from his home state.
Adam Nelson received his Gold medal on the same week that Alex Rodriguez and a group of baseball players received suspensions for using PEDs. Their story made headlines and there seemed to be press conferences every day. I can’t help thinking what a shame it was that more wasn’t done for someone who represents his country and competes clean.