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IOC to strip Hamilton of Athens gold: AP source

By Stephen Wilson
AP Sports Writer

LAST UPDATED: 05:35 a.m. HST, Aug 09, 2012

LONDON » The IOC is set to formally strip American cyclist Tyler Hamilton of his gold from the 2004 Athens Games and reassign the medals after his admission of doping, according to an Olympic official familiar with the case.

With the eight-year deadline approaching, the official told The Associated Press the IOC executive board will meet Friday to readjust the standings from the road race time trial and award the gold to retired Russian rider Viatcheslav Ekimov.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision hasn't been announced yet.

After years of denials, Hamilton told CBS's "60 Minutes" last year that he had repeatedly used performance-enhancing drugs. The IOC asked for documents from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency before reallocating the medals.

The gold will now go to Ekimov, a former teammate of Hamilton and Lance Armstrong.

American Bobby Julich will be moved up from bronze to silver, and Michael Rogers of Australia from fourth to bronze.

The Russian Olympic Committee has repeatedly pressed for Ekimov to be upgraded to gold.

Ekimov already has two Olympic gold medals — the track team pursuit at the 1988 Seoul Games and the road time trial at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The Russians failed in a 2006 appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to have Hamilton's gold given to Ekimov.

Ekimov rode with Armstrong on the U.S. Postal and Discovery Channel teams. He retired from cycling at the end of the 2006 season but remained in the sport as a director of the Discovery and RadioShack teams.

The case has gained urgency because the IOC's eight-year statute of limitations runs out at the end of this month.

USADA said at the time of Hamilton's doping admission that he had turned over his gold medal to the doping agency, but the IOC had not received it and the race result had not been officially overturned.

Before adjusting the results and reallocating the medals, the IOC wanted to be certain there was nothing in the U.S. investigation that implicated other riders or their coaches from the Athens cycling competition.

The IOC could have decided to disqualify Hamilton but not readjust the medals.

Hamilton had already come under investigation by the IOC during the Athens Games, when his initial doping sample indicated he had tested positive for a blood transfusion. The case was dropped after his backup "B'' sample was mistakenly frozen and couldn't be properly tested.

Hamilton tested positive a month later at the Spanish Vuelta. After serving a two-year suspension, he returned to cycling but tested positive again for a banned substance in 2009 and was banned for eight years.

Hamilton, who helped Armstrong win the Tour in 1999, 2000 and '01, accused Armstrong in the CBS interview of doping. Armstrong has denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

USADA officials brought charges of doping against Armstrong in June, threatening to strip him of his Tour de France victories from 1999-2005. A federal grand jury investigation of the cyclist ended four months earlier without indictments.

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Mallory wrote:
The difference between Hamilton and Ekimov - Ekimov is not going to admit to it either but really now, if Hamilton did not test positive, his only guilt is his admission which means the possibly that Ekimov also may have been taking performance enhancing drugs is also very probable.
on August 9,2012 | 09:38AM
BTO wrote:
This whole cycling sport is not all it doped out to be....... They should just ban it as a Olympic sport. I can't believe over 700 athletes in this 2012 Olympics testing positive to doping. What has sports become? I used to love the Olympics but the commercialization of it and because a larger percentage are professionals now, it has lost it's lustre. I liked it when you had college players competing in most of the competitions. I guess all sports to some extent are professional now. Corporate Sponsors and countries pay for the all year round training by these athletes now......
on August 9,2012 | 10:20AM
Denominator wrote:
Sure - the Russians and the East Germans were all college students? Give me a break! It was our college students against the worlds professionals. Even today, in China they take 6 year old kids from their families and put them in camps that do nothing but train for the Olympics. Its a lot like producing veal.
on August 9,2012 | 12:42PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
I agree with BTO that we should go back to amateur athletes like the way it used to be when it was fun to watch. With Kobe Bryant exclaiming that he doesn't have anything to learn from the younger athletes it shows you that he has become quite full of it. While we're at it, we should do away with synchronized swimming. What is that? Or that sport where these players push a broom around a large puck to get it to move. What kind of a sport is that? Or how about the lariat twirling? Is that even still in the Olympics? The gymnastics have just simply become a subjective sports of who-can-do-that-old-move-better where there is no sense of innovation. I would rather watch a dance competition where innovative moves are rewarded rather than the same old moves done over and over and over again. Getting back the topic, cheating is so pervasive that it should warrant an automatic ban for life from the Olympics. Now THAT will deter the cheaters. Any country with a cheater found on it's team would be banned from the Olympics for four years. China should be ashamed of its tactics. From the age manipulation to the intentional losing to get easier matches, this country just makes itself look so sleazy to the rest of the world. But then China uses the Olympics for its propaganda by saying, "Look, we won all these medals, so we are doing something right."
on August 9,2012 | 10:56AM
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