Athletes lose medals; Armstrong decision pending

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Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 2:36 pm

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) -- The IOC stripped medals Wednesday from four track and field athletes caught doping at the 2004 Athens Olympics - including one gold medal winner - and held off revoking Lance Armstrong's bronze from the 2000 Sydney Games.

The International Olympic Committee executive board disqualified four athletes whose Athens doping samples were retested this year and came back positive for steroids, including shot put gold medalist Yuriy Bilonog of Ukraine.

The others are hammer throw silver medalist Ivan Tskikhan of Belarus and two bronze medalists - women's shot putter Svetlana Krivelyova of Russia and discus thrower Irina Yatchenko of Belarus.

The IOC wants Armstrong's medal back from a road time trial in Sydney following the damning U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that painted Armstrong as a systematic drug cheat. The International Cycling Union recently stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles from 1999-2005.

But the IOC said it must wait for UCI, the cycling's governing body, to formally notify Armstrong of the loss of all his results since August 1998. The IOC wants to avoid any legal problems in connection with the eight-year statute of limitations in the Olympic rules.

"The IOC today will not move," IOC President Jacques Rogge said at a news conference following a two-day board meeting in Lausanne. "We need to have the situation whereby the UCI notifies officially Mr. Armstrong of the fact that he will be disqualified, declared ineligible and that he should hand over his medal.

"This is a legal obligation not for the IOC but for the International Cycling Union. When he will be notified, Mr. Armstrong will have 21 days to launch an appeal if he wishes. It is only after this period of 21 days that the IOC can legally take action."

In track, the case of a fifth bronze medalist, weightlifter Oleg Perepechenov of Russia, is pending.

The IOC said it will ask the International Association of Athletics Federations to get the medals back from the four athletes and readjust the results and rankings from the Athens Games.

Until then, no decision will be taken on reallocating the medals. Adam Nelson of the United States finished second in the shot put in Athens behind Bilonog and would stand to move up to gold.

In 2004, the Athens Games produced a record 26 doping cases. Six medalists - including two gold winners - were caught at the time. The retroactive tests bring the number of Athens cases to 31, including 11 medal winners and three gold medalists.

Since Athens, the IOC has been storing doping samples from each Olympics for eight years to allow for retesting when new detection methods become available.

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