U.S. cyclist Lance Armstrong waves after receiving the bronze medal in the men's individual time trials at the 2000 Summer Olympics cycling road course in Sydney, Australia.
Associated Press Enlarge
LONDON — The IOC has stripped Lance Armstrong of his bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Olympics because of his involvement in doping, officials familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Two officials said the IOC sent a letter to Armstrong on Wednesday night asking him to return the medal. The move came after the International Olympic Committee was notified by cycling's governing body that Armstrong had not appealed the decision to disqualify him.
The officials spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the decision hasn't been announced.
The IOC executive board discussed revoking the medal last month, but delayed a decision until cycling body UCI formally notified Armstrong he had been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and all results since 1998. He then had 21 days to appeal.
Now that the deadline has expired, the IOC decided to take the medal away. The letter to Armstrong also was sent to the U.S. Olympic Committee.
The move was confirmed to the AP on the same day that Armstrong's admission of using performance-enhancing drugs — after years of denials — is to be broadcast in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The timing of the IOC move, however, was not related to the TV interview.
Two months after winning his second Tour de France title in 2000, Armstrong took bronze in Sydney in the road time trial behind winner and U.S. Postal Service teammate Vyacheslav Ekimov of Russia and Jan Ullrich of Germany.
The IOC opened a disciplinary case in November after a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report detailed widespread doping by Armstrong and his teammates. The report called it the most sophisticated doping program in sports.
The IOC will not reallocate Armstrong's bronze medal, just as the UCI decided not to declare any winners for the Tour titles once held by the Texan. Spanish rider Abraham Olano Manzano, who finished fourth in Sydney, will not be upgraded and the bronze medal placing will be left vacant in Olympic records.
In August, the IOC stripped Tyler Hamilton, a former Armstrong teammate, of his time-trial gold medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics after he admitted to doping. In that case, Ekimov was upgraded to gold.
The IOC also is investigating Levi Leipheimer, a former Armstrong teammate who won the time-trial bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games. The American confessed to doping as part of his testimony against Armstrong in the USADA case.
The IOC is looking into the details of Leipheimer's admitted doping, including when the cheating took place, before moving to strip his medal. Finishing fourth behind Leipheimer in 2008 was Alberto Contador, the Spaniard who was stripped of the 2010 Tour de France title after testing positive for clenbuterol.
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