Sask. runner upgraded to silver medal spot from 2013 race

·3 min read

Regina steeplechaser Jessica Furlan finished fifth at the 2013 Universiade championships in Russia, but she's been upgraded to the silver medal spot after all three podium finishers committed doping infractions.

Furlan now gets the silver and fellow Canadian Chantelle Groenewoud, who finished less that a second ahead of Furlan, will get gold.

Furlan, a graduate of Leboldus High School, is currently training in Victoria, B.C., and hopes to represent Canada at next year's Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

She spoke Friday with the CBC's Jason Warick:

Warick: Congratulations. How are you feeling?

Furlan: It feels kind of strange. It was so long ago. So much has happened since then. It seems like there's so many other things going on in the world that are more important, but this is exciting for me. It shows the work the governing bodies are doing to ensure sport is clean is working, at least to a degree. Maybe it's delayed, but it's working.


Can you describe the race?

I wish I could remember more about that race. Chantelle and I were just really excited to run PBs [personal bests]. It was nice to share that moment with her. Now I have the silver and she has the gold. It would have been really nice to celebrate it at that moment. We're such good friends. To listen to Oh Canada together, that would have been really amazing. That's something we'll never get back. But I think she'd also say that we have so many other things in our lives and have such great supports. We don't do it for the medals. We love this sport. So it's OK.

In recent years you've split your training between Arizona and Victoria, but can you talk about growing up in Regina?

I feel very fortunate to have grown up in Saskatchewan with all the coaches I had. They set me up well for long-term success. My high school coach, Larry Longmore, and his wife are like family to me. I love them. Being coached by him was one of my best decisions ever. Even all through university [at the University of Nebraska], if I was having a hard time and a great time, I could call him and he could just tell.

Marc Grandmaison
Marc Grandmaison

You're training for the 2021 Olympics. How do you feel about your chances?

That's my goal. You have to just attack it and think positively. I know there's a lot of other things going on in the world. And I'm not naive enough to think there's no doping in sport. I just assume everyone is competing cleanly and if they aren't, they'll get caught. They'll have to live with it.

How do you feel about those athletes who finished ahead of you in that race and were caught doping?

It would never be my choice to do that, but I recognize I am privileged. I come from Canada and from an upper middle class family where financial pressures and support are not an issue. My results don't impact that. I'm not excusing what they're doing — it's not right. I won't ever understand why someone does that, but I understand that's part of my privilege.