German hammer thrower Betty Heidler claimed bronze at London 2012 after some back and forth with the judges.

After retests found that the gold medallist was guilty of doping, Betty had her medal upgraded to a silver.

Watch Betty’s story and the rest of the Take the Podium series on the Olympic Channel.

I participated in four Olympic Games, all of them as a hammer thrower. Winning an Olympic medal in London, that moment was indescribable. I even have a book where I collected newspaper articles from 2012 glued in with certificates and memories from my neighbours and friends. A lot of the memories that I have kept are for my children later on in life.

Achieving a dream

I received the silver medal retroactively from London 2012 because the winner, it turns out, tested positive. Holding the right medal in my hand is a good feeling. It was a huge honour to receive it from the IOC president Thomas Bach.

Whether it was silver or bronze, though, it wouldn’t have changed the course of things. I always wanted to be the best and that has nothing to do with the colour of the medal.

Mixed emotions

When I found out that I was getting a silver medal, I was sad, angry and happy at the same time. But mostly, I was relieved that this competition ends in a fair way. I sincerely hope that further improvement in the fight against doping will make late reallocations unnecessary.

As much as I am happy, I can’t get that moment of 2012 back, and I hope it will not take too long for other corrections to be made in future. We must continue to ensure that the danger of being caught outweighs winning so that no one would want to play dirty to win.


When I found out that I was getting a silver medal, I was sad, angry and happy at the same time. But mostly, I was relieved that this competition ends in a fair way.

Betty Heidler

You can watch Betty’s story and check out the rest of the Take the Podium series on the Olympic Channel