Four Euro­pean ath­letes for­feit medals

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS -

LAUSANNE, SwitzEr­LANd — Eight years af­ter win­ning Olympic medals in Athens, four track and field ath­letes from east­ern Europe were or­dered to hand them back Wed­nes­day be­cause of pos­i­tive dop­ing tests.

Lance Arm­strong, mean­while, can hold onto his bronze medal from the 2000 Syd­ney Games for a lit­tle while longer.

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

Also stripped were 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 case of a fifth bronze medal­ist, weightlifter Oleg Perepechenov of Rus­sia, re­mains pend­ing.

“Ath­letes who cheat by us­ing dop­ing sub­stances must un­der­stand that just be­cause they get away with it one day, there is a very good chance that they will be caught in the fu­ture,” WADA Pres­i­dent John Fa­hey said in a state­ment. “The retest­ing and sub­se­quent de­ci­sions of the IOC are proof of that.”

The IOC said it will ask the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions to get the four medals back 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.

The IOC, mean­while, held off strip­ping Arm­strong of the bronze he won 12 years ago in the cy­cling road time trial in Syd­ney, cit­ing pro­ce­dural rea­sons for the de­lay.

IOC lead­ers want the medal back fol­low­ing the damn­ing U.S. Anti-Dop­ing Agency report that painted Arm­strong as a sys­tem­atic drug cheat and led to him be­ing stripped of his seven Tour de France ti­tles from 19992005.

But the IOC said it must wait for cy­cling’s gov­ern­ing body UCI 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.

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