LONDON — Krisztian Pars of Hungary got his revenge, and it was pretty sweet.
Pars won the hammer throw on a cool Sunday night with 80,000 people packed into the stadium at London Olympic Park. With the crowd still buzzing from watching Usain Bolt retain his title in the 100 meters, Pars ensured his first gold medal with a mark of 264.5 feet. It was enough to beat 2008 gold medalist Primoz Kozmus of Slovenia and Japanese veteran Koji Murofushi.
Pars placed fourth at Beijing four years ago, but was promoted to second when the two Belarusian throwers who finished in front of him were disqualified for failing doping controls.
More than 18 months later, Pars and Murofushi, who had been elevated to silver and bronze, lost their medals when the Court of Arbitration for Sport reinstated Vadim Devyatovskiy and Ivan Tsikhan’s results from Beijing.
The CAS said the doping tests were invalid because international laboratory standards were not respected in what it said was an “unusually complex doping case.”
“This is a revenge for what happened at the Beijing Olympics,” Pars said. “Yes, it is a bit of a compensation for the silver I didn’t receive there. I feel life has given something back to me, something which eluded me four years ago.”
Adding more drama to the mix, Tsikhan was sent home from London last week by the Belarus team when it emerged he had failed an IOC retest of his sample taken when he won a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
“We were never officially notified what the entire story is,” Pars said through a translator when asked about Tsikhan. “We saw him here, we saw him on the start list, and we saw him erased from the start list.
“But this is the Olympics and you have to beat who is here at the Olympics. I did that today, and I’m very happy about that.”
The jockeying for podium positions didn’t affect Kozmus four years ago, but he could see it made Pars a better thrower. The Hungarian has been consistently the best hammer thrower in the world this year.
“He’s now champ. Well done,” said Kozmus, who took a year off competition after deciding he was going to retire in 2009. “I’m not disappointed. This year was difficult for me, I had a lot of problems, but in the end I’ll celebrate this medal as a gold. He was too far today for me.”
For Murofushi, winning another big-time medal was a reward for a long commitment to the sport. The left-handed veteran won the Olympic gold medal in 2004, and, after winning silver and bronze in the 2001 and 2003 world championships, finally won a world title last year.
“I’m so proud of myself today and would like to thank the support I have had across Asia and especially Japan — and I dedicate my medal to them,” said Murofushi, who turns 38 soon. “Of course, as age is very difficult being in good condition, but I had a good team.”
After a later career boom, it’s time to think beyond competition.
“I would like to regenerate my body and mind and think about the next stage,” he said. “I have already won Olympic gold. Now I think about a second career.”