Mike Hay: Give bobsledders rightful 2014 medals at Pyeongchang

British Winter Olympic chief Mike Hay has called on International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach to realise his proposal to present retrospective medals in Pyeongchang in February.

John Jackson, Stuart Benson, Bruce Tasker and Joel Fearon of Great Britain 1 make a run during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Pending an appeal, John Jackson’s four-man bobsleigh crew are set to be upgraded to bronze after two Russian crews who finished ahead of them at Sochi in 2014 were both banned last month due to failing dope tests.

Hay, who will act as GB chef de mission for the Games, is hopeful the appeals process will be expedited in order to give Jackson, along with team-mates Joel Fearon, Bruce Tasker and Stuart Benson, a taste of an Olympic podium.

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Hay said: “Thomas Bach has made it clear he would like to award the medals there and I think if you don’t get that moment a number of years ago, then being given your medal at the medals plaza in Pyeongchang is the next best thing. I know how much they put into it in Sochi and were pleased with their fifth place, only to find out two teams in front of them have been disqualified for cheating.

“It robbed them of their moment and I do feel sorry for them because that can never be replaced, but this will go some way towards sorting it out.”

Bach indicated earlier this month that he was keen to ensure retrospective medals could be handed out in Pyeongchang, but the move is likely to be dictated by developments at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, to which many Russian athletes are currently appealing.

Bach said: “We are doing everything we can to seep up this procedure. We are planning with the IOC athletes’ commission to organise dignified medals ceremonies (in Pyeongchang).”

Jackson, who is now retired, will be in Pyeongchang on commentary duties, while Fearon and Tasker will be part of the current GB bobsleigh squad. Only Benson would be required to make a special trip.

Meanwhile, Hay said he would reserve judgement on the IOC’s move to force Russian athletes to effectively compete as neutrals in Pyeongchang – and only then provided they can prove themselves to be clean.

Hay, a former curler from Perth, who coached the GB women curling team to gold at Salt Lake City in 2002 added: “I applaud the IOC for taking some action and I applaud them for the two Commission reports.

“It gives me no pleasure to see this happen but, ultimately, it was an attack on the integrity of sport at the Sochi Olympics.

“I support that action, but I think I will reserve a little bit of judgement to see how it transpires. I think if Russia takes a huge team to Pyeongchang with the word ‘Russia’ on their backs, then some people may feel they (the IOC) have not gone far enough.”