It may well end up being the strangest story of the Commonwealth Games, the one about track cycling star Ellesse Andrews and the silver medal she won but never got –and then copped a $ 334 fine for her troubles.
On a hugely successful but bizarre first day for the crack sprinter, Andrews stepped up to help the pursuit team win silver before leading the sprint team to gold.
The 22-year-old rode to the pursuit team’s rescue after they lost Ally Wollaston to injury on the eve of the Games before digging deep to fend off the fast-finishing Canadians and secure New Zealand’s first-ever gold medal in the team sprint.
The pursuit team only confirmed they would race when Andrews agreed to start to give them the compulsory four riders.
She completed the first two laps in the qualifying ride and the gold medal ride before dropping off and leaving Michaela Drummond, Emily Shearman and Bryony Botha to do the rest.
But here’s where the story gets wacky. While Andrews will be officially regarded as a silver medal winner in the pursuit, she won’t actually get a medal.
A New Zealand Olympic Committee spokesperson confirmed that because she was preparing for the team sprint finals when the medal ceremony took place, so therefore didn’t take the podium, she doesn’t actually receive a medal.
And to rub salt into the wound, as per UCI rules, not only did she lose her medal, Andrews was also fined CHF 200 ($ 334) and an unknown amount of UCI points for missing the ceremony.
It begs the question of what would happen if a rider crashed on the finish line and had to go to hospital instead of attending the medal ceremony?
Medal around her neck or not, Andrews has officially won a gold and silver already, and there could be more to come.