Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Lance Armstrong stripped of Olympic medal

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. Officials familiar with the decision tell The Associated Press the IOC has stripped Armstrong of his bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Olympics because of his involvement in doping. Two officials say the IOC sent a letter to Armstrong on Wednesday night, Jan. 16, 2013, asking him to return the medal. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan, File)

Lance Armstrong has been stripped of the Olympic bronze medal he won at the Sydney Games in 2000, the International Olympic Committee has confirmed.

The IOC acted after the International Cycling Union (UCI) disqualified all of Armstrong's results as a consequence of the American rider being found guilty of systematic doping.

Armstrong had 21 days to appeal against the UCI's decision and once it was confirmed he had not done so, the IOC took action.

An IOC spokesman told Press Association Sport: "We have written to Armstrong asking for him to return the medal and informed the US Olympic Committee.

"It was a decision taken in principle at the executive board before Christmas. We were waiting for confirmation from the UCI that he hadn't appealed against his disqualification."

The IOC's announcement comes only hours before Armstrong's expected public admission of cheating on talk-show host Oprah Winfrey's programme.

Winfrey has already revealed Armstrong came clean over his sordid past, which saw him stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life, when the interview was recorded on Monday in his home city of Austin, Texas.

The 41-year-old received the life ban after the United States Anti-Doping Agency found he had been at the heart of "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

The World Anti-Doping Agency and the UCI, cycling's world governing body, has urged Armstrong to reveal all to the authorities if he is to have any hope of lifting his life ban.

The motives for an admission - revealed by Winfrey - are unclear, but the Texan, who retired from cycling for a second time in 2010, was competing in triathlons until he was banned last year.

The Winfrey interview could be just the beginning for Armstrong, with a confession opening him up to a host of possible legal actions.

There are existing lawsuits involving SCA Promotions and The Sunday Times, while the United States Department of Justice could yet join a whistle-blower lawsuit filed against Armstrong by former team-mate Floyd Landis.

The False Claims Act lawsuit could see Armstrong forced to repay a substantial sum to the US Government following its sponsorship of cycling through the US Postal Service.