LONDON (AP) — His seven Tour de France titles erased from cycling’s record books, Lance Armstrong still holds claim to one piece of sports hardware — an Olympic medal.
But for how much longer?
The fate of Armstrong’s medal will be addressed when the International Olympic Committee executive board meets next week in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Twelve years after Armstrong won bronze in the road time trial at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the IOC wants the medal back after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s report of widespread doping by Armstrong and some teammates during his seven Tour de France victories from 1999-2005.
The International Cycling Federation, UCI, recently agreed to strip Armstrong of his seven Tour titles and ban him for life.
The board could decide to strip the medal next week or wait another few weeks until cycling’s governing body has officially notified Armstrong of the loss of his Tour titles.
IOC lawyers are studying whether the eight-year statute of limitations applies in this case, an issue that could push back a decision. But the IOC’s resolve to revoke the medal and wipe Armstrong from the Olympic records is clear; the only issue is the timing and procedure.
“The board will consider this case,” IOC vice president Thomas Bach, a German lawyer who heads the body’s doping investigations, told The Associated Press on Friday. “The board is following a zero-tolerance policy on doping.”
Craig Reedie, an IOC vice president from Britain, added: “We need to get this one behind us.”
The IOC opened a disciplinary case last month after the USADA report detailed widespread doping by Armstrong and his teammates. The report called it the most sophisticated doping program in sports.
WADA and the UCI have annulled all of Armstrong’s results since Aug. 1, 1998.
The IOC has an eight-year statute for changing Olympic results, but officials believe the decision by USADA and the cycling body to go back 14 years to disqualify Armstrong should clear the way for them to reach back to 2000.
“I would hope we can deal with it because the evidence (against Armstrong) is overwhelming,” Australian IOC executive board member John Coates told The Australian newspaper. “USADA and the UCI went outside the eight-year limit on the basis that the statute simply doesn’t apply if you have broken the law, so I imagine our lawyer will see if that applies with us.”
Two months after winning his second Tour de France title in 2000, Armstrong took bronze in Sydney behind winner and U.S. Postal Service teammate Vyacheslav Ekimov of Russia and Jan Ullrich of Germany.
The IOC has no plans to reallocate Armstrong’s bronze medal to any other rider, just as the UCI decided not to pick winners for the Tour de France titles once held by the American. That means Spanish rider Abraham Olano Manzano, who finished fourth in Sydney, would not be upgraded and the third-place spot would be left vacant in the Olympic records.
In August, the IOC stripped Tyler Hamilton, a former Armstrong teammate, of his time-trial gold medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics after he admitted to doping. In that case, Ekimov was upgraded to the gold.
In a bid to head off any legal disputes, the IOC had considered writing to Armstrong requesting that he give up the Sydney medal on his own. But the committee discarded that idea and is pursuing its own disciplinary action.
The chances of Armstrong voluntarily returning the medal seem remote: He posted a photograph on Twitter last month showing him lying on a couch at his home in Texas with seven framed yellow Tour de France jerseys mounted on the wall.
The UCI, which initially questioned how USADA could skirt the eight-year rule, has not yet formally notified Armstrong of its ruling but is expected to do so in the coming days. After that, Armstrong would have 21 days to appeal. The IOC could wait until that period expires, then revoke his third-place finish on the grounds that Armstrong had accepted his disqualification and should send back the medal.
The IOC is also investigating Levi Leipheimer, a former Armstrong teammate who won the time-trial bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games. The American confessed to doping as part of his testimony against Armstrong in the USADA case.
The IOC is looking into the details of his admitted doping, including when the cheating took place, before moving to strip his medal. Finishing fourth behind Leipheimer in 2008 was Alberto Contador, the Spaniard who was stripped of the 2010 Tour de France title after testing positive for clenbuterol.
More Related Stories
- What's 2013's "Gone Girl"? Here are this summer's best reads
- Fox executive behind "Does Someone Have to Go?" leaving the network
- Hillary Clinton memoir shows up on Amazon
- A brief history of Jennifer Weiner's literary fights
- First look: Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard shine in "The Immigrant”
- No women allowed: Summer music festivals are dudefests, again
- Vivica A. Fox tapes anti-gun PSA in front of poster for her movie
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Mariah Carey's rambling, cursing, dress-popping "Good Morning America" concert
- Fox's new reality TV show threatens regular people with unemployment
- Amanda Bynes arrested after hurling bong from window
- Steamy lesbian-sex movie has Cannes abuzz
- Stop what you're doing and go watch "Borgen"
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- Mike Judge: "Bowling for Columbine" made me pro-gun
- New York chef serves up eight-course meal around "Arrested Development" jokes
- HLN: Jodi Arias "pleading for her life" got us a ratings win!
- Michael Ian Black on Maron feud: He "considered me a poseur"
- Chekhov's story mirrors Russia's own
- Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina denied parole
- Joe Francis apologizes for calling jury "retarded"
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11