Lamin Deen has been retrospectively crowned the first World Cup-winning pilot in the history of British four-man bobsleigh.
Deen and his team-mates Ben Simons, Toby Obubi and Andrew Matthews initially finished second in the World Cup race in Whistler in November 2017, just over a quarter of second behind the Russian sled piloted by Alexander Kasjanov.
However, the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) has confirmed the upgrade for Deen’s team after an appeal by Kasjanov over a doping violation was rejected.
Deen, whose upgrade coincided with his 40th birthday on Thursday, told the PA news agency: “It’s incredible to hear the news on my 40th birthday, and to be honest I thought it was a joke at first.
“It is a huge thing because it gives you bragging rights as well as the belief that, on any given day, even if you don’t have the best kit or the best preparations, you can be better than the rest.
“After the last Olympics, when we didn’t perform as we wished and then lost our funding, I was pretty much on the verge of knocking it on the head for good.
“But I believe that you make your own luck and I decided to go for it and take some big risks, and moments like this, when you get gold medals and a place in the British history books, reminds you why it is all worthwhile.”
Kasjanov’s crew were also retrospectively disqualified from the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014 for doping offences, a decision that upgraded Deen’s then team-mate John Jackson to a bronze medal.
The removal of Kasjanov’s results also means Deen and team-mates Matthews, John Baines and Joel Fearon will receive a bronze medal from the Lake Placid World Cup race in 2016.
British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association chair Joanna Poulton said: “It’s fantastic to see that Lamin, Ben, Toby and Andrew have been upgraded to race winners. It’s a huge achievement and something they should be incredibly proud of – as we all are.
“Winning a gold medal is something that very few athletes get to experience and, while it’s disappointing that they didn’t get to stand on the top step of the podium at the time, it’s good to know that they are now being recognised for that achievement.
“We have written to the IBSF requesting that they, and the team that won bronze in Lake Placid in 2016, receive new medals as a matter of priority.”
Deen is essentially self-funding his team as they strive for a place at next year’s Beijing Olympics and has added Olympic gold medal-winning long-jumper Greg Rutherford to his training squad.
Deen added: “It was never a given that Greg was going to be added to the team because we’ve got a lot of talented guys and everyone is fighting for a slot.
“But Greg has blended in brilliantly and, as far as his performance goes, his first selection evaluation was above expectations for both myself and the coaches. He is like a sponge when it comes to this sport and he is developing at a superb rate.”