ATHENS – Koji Murofushi showed mixed feelings about the way he won the Olympic title Sunday, saying honest competition is more important than winning gold.
“I’m glad that I was able to transform all my efforts and hard work into the form of a gold medal,” Murofushi said shortly after the International Olympic Committee acted to strip Hungary’s Adrian Annus of his gold for violating doping rules.
“To be honest, I wanted to receive it directly on the podium,” Murofushi said at a packed press conference, exactly one week after being beaten by Annus in the men’s hammer throw final.
The IOC Executive Board decided to expel Annus from the Games hours before the closing ceremony, after he was dogged by suspicions all week that he presented somebody else’s urine sample rather than his own at a post-competition drug test.
Murofushi lamented that doping is believed to be rampant in his sport as he provided reporters with copies of a Japanese translation of the caption etched on the reverse side of the Athens Olympic medals under a picture of the eternal flame.
According to organizers, “Mother of the gold-crowned Games, mistress of truth” was the English version of the caption taken from the opening lines of a poem by the ancient Greek poet Pindar to honor an Olympic champion.
“There is something that is more important than winning the gold. I mentioned this poem in the belief that it’s extremely important for competition to be staged in truth,” Murofushi said.
In the hammer throw final Aug. 22, the 29-year-old threw 82.91 meters in his sixth and final throw but came up just 28 cm short of Annus.
The Hungarian passed a post-competition drug test but suspicions that he may have used a banned substance grew after countryman Robert Fazekas forfeited his title last Tuesday after failing to present a complete urine sample. Annus and Fazekas share the same coach.
Annus returned home shortly after winning the gold but doping control officials tracked him down and set a deadline for him to report for further testing, but he failed to show up.
“He had been rumored to have been involved (in doping) but I’m not sure if it’s true or not,” Murofushi said.
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