One day after news of Tyler Hamilton's confession of doping during his cycling career, the 2004 Olympic Games time trial winner was reported to have already returned his medal. Hamilton voluntarily surrendered his gold medal to the United States Anti-Doping Agency according to the New York Times.
"The I.O.C. has been in touch with USADA, which indicated that the athlete has already rendered his gold medal - Athens 2004 time-trial race - and that they are currently pursuing an inquiry," Emmanuelle Moreau, a spokeswoman for the IOC, wrote in an e-mail according to the New York Times. "The I.O.C. has taken note of Hamilton's confession and will, of course, study any potential Games-related implications."
USADA confirmed the return of the gold medal and said it would continue its joint investigative work with the IOC and US Olympic Committee.
Hamilton tested positive for homologous blood doping at the 2004 Vuelta a España, which followed the Olympic Games. In fact, Hamilton's "A" sample from the Olympic Games time trial had also tested positive for a blood transfusion, but mishandling of the backup sample meant the result could not be confirmed with the "B" sample, and therefore, Hamilton had been allowed to keep his Olympic medal.
Hamilton had won the 2004 Olympic Games time trial ahead of Viatcheslav Ekimov (Russia) and Bobby Julich (United States of America) and Michael Rogers (Australia). In theory, the new assignment of medals could be Ekimov - gold, Julich - silver and Rogers - bronze.
A previous joint appeal by the Russian and Australian Olympic Committees to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in 2006, was denied. The Russians and Australians had asked unsuccessfully for CAS to give Hamilton's medal to Ekimov.
After Hamilton returned to competition following his initial ban, he later failed an out-of-competition doping control for the banned substance DHEA in a test before the Tour of California in February 2009. Hamilton was subsequently banned for eight years.
Hearing the news of Hamilton's confession, Armstrong twittered to his former teammate Ekimov: "Congratulations to @eki_ekimov on his 3rd Olympic Gold Medal!!"
Hamilton, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong claimed that seven-time Tour de France winner had used performance enhancing drugs, including EPO and testosterone during several of his Tour wins. Hamilton made the claims during an interview with the credible "60 Minutes" program that is planning to air this Sunday, and those claims emerged yesterday.
Hamilton rode with Armstrong on the US Postal Service team from 1998 until 2001 and was a key part of Armstrong's winning Tour runs. He went on to to rival Amstrong with first CSC and then Phonak.
Armstrong has consistently denied doing any doping and has frequently pointed out that he passed 500 doping tests over 20 years of competition.