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EDITORIAL: Dirty pool

Canadian weightlifter Christine Girard displays the gold and bronze Olympic medals she was awarded during a ceremony Monday in Ottawa. Girard was awarded the London 2012 gold and Beijing 2008 bronze medals after the International Olympic Committee disqualified athletes from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic games. — Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press
Canadian weightlifter Christine Girard displays the gold and bronze Olympic medals she was awarded during a ceremony Monday in Ottawa. Girard was awarded the London 2012 gold and Beijing 2008 bronze medals after the International Olympic Committee disqualified athletes from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic games. — Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

In one case, justice took 2,317 long days.

In another, it took even more time: 3,399 days.

But Canadian weightlifter Christine Girard finally got to experience justice, and on Monday was awarded a gold medal she should have received at the 2012 London Olympics and a bronze medal she rightfully won even earlier, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

It is wonderful that Girard received her medals, after not one, not two, but three different weightlifters — Maiya Maneza and Irina Nekrassova of Kazakhstan and Svetlana Tsarukaeva of Russia — after retests of urine samples showed the three tested positive for banned substances.

Girard will not get to be able to have the experience of standing at the Olympics and hearing the Canadian anthem played, which is a true shame for any athlete who stayed clean and legitimately put in the hours of hard work necessary to become an Olympic champion.

We’re closing in on the next federal election in this country, and it’s hard to see if the lessons that should have been learned after Russian interference in the 2016 American election have been taken fully to heart.

Olympic success is such a fleeting thing; after years of effort, there are often only moments of recognition. Can anyone out there — without using your phone — name any other female weightlifters who medalled in London? In Beijing? Odds are that you can’t, unless you’re a weightlifter yourself or are related to an Olympian in the sport.

And that brings to mind something else: if nations will spend such tremendous effort and expense to try and get around drug tests simply to win something as passing as medals, how much more are they willing to do to reach other ends, like keeping themselves in power and interfering in others’ elections to bring the candidates they approve of to office?

We’re closing in on the next federal election in this country, and it’s hard to see if the lessons that should have been learned after Russian interference in the 2016 American election have been taken fully to heart.

While the investigation into whether there was any collusion by the Trump campaign is still ongoing to the south of us, it’s been made abundantly clear that the Russian government of Vladimir Putin felt that it had a vested interest in how the election turned out, and used considerable internet, bot and social media work to try and sway the way Americans voted.

Canada is part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a close and friendly neighbour of the United States, and we have interests in the Arctic, just like Russia does. All are reasons why the Russian government might be interested in having some effect on our government and elections, too.

Elections, like the Olympics, happen over a relatively short span of time.

Their results, however unfair and unreasonable, can linger for far longer, even once the cheaters are caught.

Think about and question the information you receive and that you base your votes on.

The wrong person can end up owning the podium for far too long.

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