LONDON – The crowds at the world championships cheered for gold Friday even before the first event started.
And some athletes already wept for joy.
In a special ceremony to give due credit to athletes who initially finished behind medalists later caught for doping, the U.S. women's 4x400-meter relay team finally got its gold for victory at the 2013 Moscow worlds.
The Russians initially won the race but were later disqualified for doping. The U.S. team was promoted from silver to gold with Britain and France also bumped up a notch.
Similar ceremonies were also held for other races from the 2009, 2011 and 2013 worlds.
"It is really important we get them into the right hands," IAAF president Sebastian Coe said. "It is what we are celebrating tonight."
Still, the ceremony was also tinged with melancholy, since the medalists got their rewards years late with many in retirement.
Francena McCorory of the United States wiped away tears when she was handed a bronze medal for the 400-meter race from 2011. She was also part of the relay team which was handed gold for the 2013 title.
"Even tonight, celebrations can never replace" the feelings of getting it at the championships themselves, Coe said. "It is the next best thing we can do."
On Sunday, heptathlete Jessica Ennis will also be upgraded to gold for her performance at the 2011 world championships in Daegu, South Korea, after initial winner Tayana Chernova was disqualified.
With the crowd at a near capacity 60,000 at the Olympic Stadium, the scene was set for Usain Bolt and Mo Farah to grab the early attention.
The Jamaican sprinter will compete in the opening round of the 100 meters, a race that should amount to a stroll in Bolt's farewell championships. Gold in the 10,000 meters is at stake for Farah.
The fervor of the home crowd will be on show when Farah sets out for another long-distance double. He has done it twice at the world championships, and twice at the Olympics.
More AP track coverage: https://www.apnews.com/tag/London2017