Cyclist Lance Armstrong has officially been stripped of the bronze medal that he was awarded at the 2000 Olympic Summer Games. Armstrong, who recently admitted to doping before races, could also be facing time in jail if prosecuted and his admission may also see the International Olympic Committee drop cycling as an event from upcoming Games.
Armstrong has been in the sporting headlines all over the world for the past year as more and more people accused him of cheating. Many of his accusers were former cycling teammates who also admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs themselves.
After the evidence kept piling up it looked like there was no way out for the American cyclist and Armstrong admitted his guilt in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
But even Armstrong’s admission came under criticism as many people felt that wasn’t an appropriate platform to tell the world what it had suspected along. An official with the IOC said the organization wrote Armstrong a letter and asked him to return the bronze medal that he won in a time trial in Sydney, Australia in 2000.
The Olympic medal was the last major award that Armstrong had since he was previously stripped of the seven Tour de France championships that he won.
The 41-year-old cyclist was also banned by the UCI (International Cycling Union) for life in October of 2012 after overwhelming evidence of cheating was presented to the organization. The evidence was gathered by the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) and most of it came from teammates of Armstrong who said he was involved in their sophisticated doping program for years.
However, Armstrong was seen as a hero by many because he battled against testicular cancer and founded a cancer foundation called Livestrong. In addition, he vehemently denied taking performance enhancing drugs and said he had never failed a drug test in his career.
After Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France medals and was threatened with several lawsuits, it was just a matter of time before the IOC followed suit and took away his Olympic medal.
When the UCI banned him for life, the writing was on the wall for Armstrong. The bronze medal he won was for placing third in a time trial at the 2000 Games. In the actual race he crossed the finish line in 13th place, which was considered a failure by Armstrong’s lofty cycling standards.
When Armstrong returns the medal and the accompanying certificate to the U.S. Olympic Committee it will then forward them to the IOC. It hasn’t been decided yet, but there’s a possibility that Abraham Olano Manzano of Spain may be awarded with Armstrong’s bronze medal as he finished in fourth place in the time trial, just behind Armstrong.
However, when American Marion Jones had her Olympic medals stripped from her for taking performance-enhancing drugs during the Sydney Games, the IOC decided to just leave the medals vacant.