The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is set to formally strip Tyler Hamilton of the gold medal he earned in the 2004 Olympic time trial, the AP reported today.
The IOC executive board will reportedly meet on Friday to reassign the medals from the Athens Games time trial, rewarding gold to Viatcheslav Ekimov (Russia), silver to Bobby Julich (USA) and bronze to Michael Rogers (Australia). The action is prompted by the IOC's approaching eight-year statute of limitations deadline.
The Olympic gold medal would be the third for Ekimov, who already earned gold on the track in the team pursuit in 1988 and on the road in the time trial during the 2000 Olympics.
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.
A previous joint appeal by the Russian and Australian Olympic Committees to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), 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.
Hamilton later confessed in a "60 Minutes" interview aired in 2011 that he repeatedly used performance-enhancing drugs. At the time it was reported that Hamilton returned his gold medal to USADA, but the IOC had not received it and the results were not amended.
Hamilton also claimed in the "60 Minutes" interview that seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong had used performance-enhancing drugs, including EPO and testosterone, during several of his Tour wins.
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 rival Armstrong with first CSC and then Phonak.
Ekimov was also a teammate of Hamilton on the US Postal Service team. After Hamilton made his confession in 2011 Ekimov stated that the American was a liar and claimed his statements about Armstrong doping were false.
Armstrong himself is currently under investigation by USADA for doping violations and could be stripped of his Tour de France titles if found guilty.
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