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Nijel Amos plans to sell historic Olympic 800m medal amid doping ban

Nijel Amos

Botswana’s Nijel Amos celebrates after winning the silver medal in the men’s 800 final at the athletics event during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 9, 2012 in London. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/GettyImages)

AFP via Getty Images

Nijel Amos, the silver medalist in arguably the greatest race in history, is looking into selling that medal, the first medal in Botswana’s Olympic history, after recently receiving a three-year doping ban.

“It has been a financially draining process,” Amos said in a statement of the doping case, which began with a positive drug test last June. He said he incurred around $67,000 in legal and travel fees associated with the case.

Amos took silver in the 2012 Olympic 800m won by Kenyan David Rudisha in a world record time that still stands. Amos, then 18, matched 1980s British star Seb Coe as the third-fastest man in history in the event (1:41.73). Every runner’s time in that Olympic final was the fastest ever for his finishing placement.

“At this time, my only investment or pension is the famous 2012 Olympic silver medal,” Amos said in the statement. “I am in touch with different stakeholders, including financial advisors, on how that can sustain me and my family.

“It is extremely difficult to survive as an athlete in Botswana where we are not given pension or any lump sum insurance payouts.”

Amos said Tuesday that he met with a team that wants to buy the medal with a value of around $340,000, but that he has a Netflix documentary coming out that could increase the medal’s value, according to the BBC.

It was announced last week that Amos was banned three years for doping, retroactive to last July, when he was provisionally suspended pending an investigation. His ban now runs to 2025, which means the 29-year-old Amos will miss the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Amos tested positive for GW1516, an experimental drug which can modify the body’s metabolism but has been considered too dangerous for human use. GW1516 was developed to help build endurance and burn fat but was found to cause cancer during tests on rodents. Anti-doping organizations have warned athletes not to use it on safety grounds.

Amos received a one-year reduction of what would otherwise be a four-year ban because he made an early admission and acceptance of the suspension.

Amos has not won an Olympic or world championships medal since 2012. In July 2019, he ran 1:41.89, the world’s best time since that London Olympic final.

At the Tokyo Olympics, Amos and American Isaiah Jewett got tangled in the final lap of their semifinal. In an act of good sportsmanship, the runners helped each other up and later jogged across the finish line together in the last two places. Amos was granted a place in the final and finished eighth.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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