LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The International Olympic Committee could strip Tyler Hamilton of his 2004 cycling gold medal following the American’s admission of doping, IOC vice president Thomas Bach said Friday.
Bach told The Associated Press that the committee will examine Hamilton’s statements that he doped throughout his career.
In an interview with 60 Minutes, Hamilton admitted that he doped and said Lance Armstrong did as well.
“If there is any need or possibility to take action we will do it,” said Bach, who heads most of the IOC’s doping investigations.
Bach said he hasn’t seen Hamilton’s statements yet but “we will look into this.”
The IOC can retroactively strip Olympic medals if proof of doping emerges later or an athlete admits to cheating. The IOC took away Marion Jones’ five medals from the 2000 Sydney Games after she admitted using performance-enhancing drugs.
“The IOC has taken note of Hamilton’s confession and will of course study any potential games-related implications. We will contact UCI and USADA for further information,” the IOC said in a statement.
The IOC had provisionally investigated Hamilton for doping after he won the time trial gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
An initial test at the Athens Games suggested the American had received an endurance-boosting blood transfusion. But the case was dropped after his backup sample was mistakenly frozen, leaving too few red blood cells to analyze.
If the IOC disqualifies Hamilton, his former U.S. Postal Service teammate Viatcheslav Ekimov of Russia stands to be upgraded from silver.
The Russian Olympic Committee failed in a 2006 appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to have Hamilton’s gold given to Ekimov.
Ekimov, a longtime member of Armstrong’s U.S. Postal and Discovery Channel teams, already has two Olympic golds. He won in track team pursuit at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, when the Soviet Union edged East Germany for gold. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, he won the road time trial ahead of silver-medalist Jan Ullrich and Armstrong in third for bronze.
Armstrong posted a message for Ekimov on his Twitter page late Thursday.
“Congratulations to (at)eki-ekimov on his 3rd Olympic Gold Medal!!” the seven-time Tour de France champion wrote.
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