It is becoming routine for Jenny Simpson and Emma Coburn to take a victory lap at Folsom Field, a ritual that will be repeated this weekend when the former Colorado track and field standouts are honored during the Buffaloes’ football game against Cal.
This time, however, they will be joined by Kara Goucher for recognition far overdue.
While Coburn and Simpson were backing up their bronze medals from the 2016 Olympics by winning gold medals in August at the IAAF World Championships, Goucher received a silver medal a decade in the making, as her third-place finish in the 10,000-meter run at the 2007 World Championships officially was upgraded.
The International Association of Athletics Federation has slowly been upgrading athletes’ medals as doping revelations strip medal winners of their performances, a process that benefitted Goucher when Turkey’s Elvan Abeylegesse was stripped of her second-place finish in 2007.
That process, however, is going too slowly for the liking of CU track and cross country coach Mark Wetmore, who has been a longtime outspoken proponent for Goucher and Simpson, who also is hopeful of an upgrade to her 2009 bronze medal in the steeplechase.
“We are very pleased that Kara’s medal has been upgraded. She earned it then and deserves it now,” CU cross country coach Mark Wetmore said. “It’s a little disappointing for her to get it so late, but she at least received it in the London stadium in front of a lot of people. There’s a thrower (Adam Nelson) who got upgraded in the food court of an airport.
“I wish the IAAF would be a little more proactive and a little more timely in retroactively re-awarding these medals when they know the facts. What’s happening for Kara is wonderful. She deserves it. There’s other people waiting and I’d like to see USTAF and IAAF move a little faster. “
The trio of former Buffs will be recognized during the first quarter of Saturday’s football game. Coburn won a world championship this past summer in the steeplechase whiel Simpson claimed silver in the 1,500-meter run. The duo also was recognized at Folsom last year after becoming the first American women to win Olympic medals in their respective events.