Eight years later, IOC disqualifies U.S. relay team
The IOC announced today that the four members of the US men's relay team who won gold at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, have been stripped of their medals, after one member, Antonio Pettigrew, admitted using performance enhancing drugs.
"A decision on reallocating the medals and diplomas of those affected by these decisions will be made at a future meeting of the IOC executive board," the IOC said Saturday in a statement issued in Beijing.
It was the fourth gold and sixth overall medal stripped from the 2000 U.S. track contingent in eight months for the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
In May, Pettigrew admitted injecting human growth hormone and the oxygen-boosting drug EPO, both banned in track. He proceeded to surrender his medal in June and Saturday's decision to strip the remaining team members of their gold medals was considered a formality on the part of the IOC.
Also losing their medals from the relay are Michael Johnson and twins Alvin and Calvin Harrison, who all ran in the final. Jerome Young and Angelo Taylor were also stripped of their gold medals as they ran with the team in the preliminaries.
Johnson, the world record holder in the 200 and 400 metres, said in June that he felt "cheated, betrayed and let down" by Pettigrew's admission and had already said he was returning his medal.
Johnson and Taylor are the only two members of the relay team that haven't been tainted by the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Pettigrew also finished seventh in the individual 400 metres in Sydney, but was disqualified from that, and has been banned from competing in Beijing 'in any capacity' meaning, competitor or coach or anything.
The IOC's decision comes four months after it stripped three gold and two bronze medals from American Marion Jones at the Sydney Games because of her doping history.
Jones's admission of drug use cost her teammates their gold in the women's 1,600-metre relay and bronze from the women's 400-metre relay. Jones also lost her gold medals in the individual 100 metres and 200 metres, as well as her bronze medal in the long jump.
It's too bad that Pettigrew's teammates had to suffer for his actions as well, but I suppose they would not want to keep their tarnished medals and know that one of their teammates cheated.