Four Olympians will lose medals after the International Olympic Committee re-tested drug samples from eight years ago, finding them to be positive for banned substances.
The Olympians competed in the 2004 Athens cames, and included Ukraine’s shot put champion Yuriy Bilonog. The other Olympians to lose medals were silver-medal winning Belarussian hammer thrower Ivan Tsikhan and two bronze medalists: women’s shot putter Svetlana Krivelyova of Russia and discus thrower Irina Yatchenko of Belarus.
Tsikhan, a three-time world champion, had also lost his bronze medal from the 2008 Beijing Games before that decision was overturned because of a procedural error in a lab, Reuters reported.
There is a case against a fifth athlete which is still pending, the International Olympic Committee. That athlete has not yet been named.
All four Olympians to lose medals had tested positive for anabolic steroids. The IOC caught the failed tests when a batch of 100 samples from the Athens Games were re-tested using more modern methods.
“You always want to wait until science gives you the most sensitive tests,” IOC President Jacques Rogge told reporters. “When we retested the athletes for Athens they had undergone testing that was negative (during Athens). “Since then there has been progress, we were informed about better tests and new tests. The more time you have, the bigger the chances that science will deliver better tests.”
After the four Olympians lose medals, the total number of doping cases from Athens rises to 31, the most in Olympic history.