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Van Wyck native Shawn Crawford confirmed last week that he gave his Olympic silver medal to Churandy Martina, who finished second in the 200 meters, but was later disqualified for running out of his lane.
It was reported in December that Crawford had returned the medal to Martina, who posted photos of himself with the medal on his Web site, but Crawford did not confirm it then.
“I’m like, if a guy is 10 meters in front of me, I don’t care if he stayed in the middle of his lane,” Crawford told The Associated Press on Friday. “He was going to beat me anyway. He didn’t impede in anybody’s race.”
Crawford, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist, originally came in fourth in Beijing. Teammate Wallace Spearmon was third, but was disqualified for running out of his lane.
After studying video of the race, American officials filed a protest against Martina for the same error. Martina and his Netherland Antilles team have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, arguing that the protest was filed too late.
Martina finished in 19.82, behind world record-setter Usain Bolt. Crawford’s time was 19.96.
“It wasn’t about doing the right thing. It’s just me as an athlete – I feel like we all compete and train for four years to get to the Olympic Games,” Crawford said.
Crawford left the medal for Martina at a hotel shortly after the Olympics.
The two have since spoken about it.
“He was very surprised, thankful about it,” Crawford said. “He thought it was very big of me to step up like that.”