Shalane Flanagan gets medal upgrade from 2008 Olympics

In this Friday, April 15, 2016 photo, Shalane Flanagan speaks with a reporter during a media availability prior to the 120th running of the Boston Marathon in Boston. Fifty years after Bobbi Gibb sneaked into the Boston Marathon wearing her brother's Bermuda shorts and a hoodie covering her long hair, the race celebrates a half-century of women who broke barriers and the finish-line tape. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/AP
“Receiving my proper medal and having the record books changed is a dream come true,” said Shalane Flanagan.

It took a while — about nine years — but Shalane Flanagan is an Olympic silver medalist.

The Marblehead native learned Monday that her bronze medal in the 10,000-meter run from the 2008 Games in Beijing had been upgraded to silver after Turkish runner Elvan Abeylegesse tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in a re-testing of the doping samples from the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka.

Flanagan got word — and a shiny new silver medal — from the United States Olympic Committee and USA Track and Field at her home in Portland, Ore., on Monday morning.


“Receiving my proper medal and having the record books changed is a dream come true,” Flanagan said in a statement. “I greatly appreciate the USOC’s efforts to host a more formal medal ceremony in my honor, but with my coach and my family, I have decided to forego that option and instead celebrate in private. This news, and receiving my medal, are all that I need to feel incredibly fulfilled and happy. I’m honored and proud to officially be the 2008 10,000-meter silver medalist.”

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Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia won gold in 29 minutes 54.66 seconds with Abeylegesse finishing second in 29:56.34. Flanagan was third in 30:22:22, which stood as the American record until 2016, when it was broken by Molly Huddle. Kenya’s Linet Chepkwemoi Masai finished fourth in 30:26.50, and now gets the bronze.

“The US Olympic Committee would like to extend its congratulations to Shalane for her outstanding performance in Beijing,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in the news release. “As one of our country’s most decorated distance runners, we commend her for her success on the field of play, as well as her conduct off the field of play. She epitomizes the Olympic values with her integrity, sportsmanship, and unwavering dedication to competitive excellence.’’

Flanagan, 36, who placed sixth in the marathon at last summer’s Rio games, is the second-fastest American marathoner, thanks to her 2:21:14 finish in Berlin in 2014. She missed this year’s Boston Marathon with a back injury, but has two top-10 finishes (fourth in 2013, seventh in 2014) in her hometown race.