Cyclist Tyler Hamilton will be stripped of his gold medal victory from the 2004 Athens Games and a redistribution of medals will commence according to one International Olympic Committee (IOC) board member who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The IOC must change medal standings within eight years, and, under readjusted time trial numbers, the gold medal will now be awarded to Russian rider Viatcheslav Ekimov before the statute of limitations runs up in one month’s time.
Hamilton was under the suspicion of performance enhancing drugs for years and finally admitted to cheating during a 60 Minutes interview in 2011.
The gold medal shuffle also means American Bobby Julich will now receive the silver medal and fourth place finisher Michael Rogers will receive the bronze.
Moving up in the medal count is a big win for the Russian Olympic Committee, which has been pushing the IOC for the reassignment ever since Tyler Hamilton admitted his guilt. The new medal will mean Ekimov has now received three golds including the track team medal during the 1988 Seoul Games and the road time trial during the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Eikmov retired from cycling in 2006 but has remained as a sports director for the sports, assisting both the RadioShack and Discovery teams.
The USADA is quick to point out that Hamilton has not attempted to fight the decision; in fact, Hamilton turned over his gold medal after admitting to the doping charge.
Before issuing a final decision, the IOC is attempting to make sure no other riders were involved in the scandal. The IOC has also been busily investigating Tyler Hamilton’s coaches for wrongdoing.
Hamilton failed a drug test during the Athens Games, but charges were eventually dropped because his backup “B” sample was accidentally frozen and therefore could not be properly tested. One month after failing the drug test, Hamilton failed another test at the Spanish Vuelta which led to a two-year suspension.
In 2009, Tyler Hamilton tested positive once again for a banned substance and was handed down an eight year ban.