IOC official says Armstrong’s 2000 medal case unclear | SummitDaily.com

IOC official says Armstrong’s 2000 medal case unclear

Graham Dunbar
AP Sports Writer

FILE - In this July 24, 2005, file photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong signals seven for his seventh straight win in the Tour de France cycling race as he pedals during the 21st and final stage of the race between Corbeil-Essonnes, south of Paris, and the French capital. The superstar cyclist, whose stirring victories after his comeback from cancer helped him transcend sports, chose not to pursue arbitration in the drug case brought against him by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. That was his last option in his bitter fight with USADA and his decision set the stage for the titles to be stripped and his name to be all but wiped from the record books of the sport he once ruled. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Lance Armstrong could keep his bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Games even if he is stripped of his seven Tour de France victories for doping.

A senior IOC member told The Associated Press on Friday that it was unclear if the Olympic body can take the time trial medal from Armstrong.

“It’s an interesting case on a legal point of view,” said Denis Oswald, a Swiss lawyer and longtime member of the IOC’s legal commission.

Oswald said the expected case could turn on different ways to interpret the eight-year statute of limitations stipulated in the World Anti-Doping Code.

Oswald acknowledged that the IOC feels “bound” by the code, which regulates Olympic sports.

“It is in the World Anti-Doping Code, and what is older than eight years you can’t review,” Oswald said.

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However, he noted that the code came into force in 2003 and no time limit applied in Sydney.

“Is there reasoning to say it didn’t exist when the violation was committed and therefore we are not bound?” Oswald suggested, freeing the IOC to strip the medal.

Armstrong’s legacy and titles have been at risk since, two weeks ago, he dropped any further challenges to U.S. Anti-Doping Agency allegations that he took banned drugs throughout his career, including when he won the Tour from 1999 through 2005.

USADA said the following day that Armstrong should lose all titles and medals won since August 1998.

The International Cycling Union governing body is waiting to receive a detailed judgment from USADA before deciding whether to formally strip Armstrong’s Tour titles.

Tour de France organizer, the Amaury Sports Organization, said it also awaits guidance from USADA and the UCI.

The IOC has responsibility for managing Olympic results but is not yet formally involved in the case, which Oswald described as “unusual.”

“We haven’t been notified of anything, not even from USADA and not from UCI,” he said. “For the time being, we are not asked to take a position.”

The IOC did formally strip an Olympic title last month from former Armstrong teammate Tyler Hamilton, just weeks before the eight-year statute of limitation expired.

Hamilton had already sent back his gold medal after previously admitting doping when he won the time trial at the 2004 Athens Games.

Hamilton recently published a book in which he detailed allegations of a coordinated doping program involving Armstrong and his Tour-winning teams. Armstrong denies having doped.