Lithuanian heptathlete Austra Skujyte finished in fifth place at London 2012, having ended day one in the lead.
After the athletes who finished above her in third and fourth place had their results annulled for doping, she was moved up to the bronze medal position in her fourth and final appearance at the Games.
Watch Austra’s story and the rest of the Take the Podium series on the Olympic Channel.
At Athens 2004, I ran my personal best in the 800m and received a silver medal, but Beijing 2008 was a different story as I was injured and ended up not finishing the competition.
It’s always so much easier to quit and walk away when times get tough, but you never know what you can achieve. In 2010, I asked Aleksas Stanislovaitis to be my coach because my sprinting was terrible. He was good with numbers and strategy. He was very caring and like a dad to everybody around here who has been coached by him. We were a really good team together. He got me in really good shape and I was able to perform to the best of my entire career.
It’s always so much easier to quit and walk away when times get tough, but you never know what you can achieve.
Replaying London 2012
London 2012 was probably the most replayed competition in my head, especially with the medal slipping out of our hands. After three events I ended up being at the front but the heptathlon is a seven-event competition. We have four events in one day and then three events on the second day and it’s very important to have a rest in between.
After the first day, I was selected for the drug testing and so while everybody else was going back to the Village to have a massage and bath, I had to stay in the room until I gave a sample. I didn’t sleep well, so the next day was not as good, as I was not ready for it. I was so close, and I was so sad to lose and ended up being fifth. After, I went through two years of sadness when I could not even talk about London 2012.
Tribute to a coach and friend
I received the bronze medal because somebody was cheating. I assumed that they had a situation affect them in their past. I know if there is a system of corruption, sometimes it’s hard for a child who’s growing up in it to know that there’s another way.
It feels really good to receive a bronze medal, especially when I found out that I got an upgrade [from fifth place]. It was a joyful moment. But at the same time, I know that now I don’t have my coach with me to celebrate together. He was the one that I really believed in me and we did it together. I would like so much to give him a hug and to celebrate this win with him.
I just really hope that someday other athletes could experience something so great and big. That’s my dream: to get somebody else there.