The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that it has formally disqualified American cyclist Tyler Hamilton from the events he competed in at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, in which he won a gold medal in the time trial. That will now be awarded to Viatcheslav Ekimov of Russia, his former team mate at US Postal Service.
Hamilton had tested positive for a blood transfusion during the 2004 Olympics but an error resulted in his B sample being frozen meaning that no further action could be taken. The following month, however, he failed another doping control while competing in the Vuelta and was banned for two years. A further positive test in 2009 resulted in him receiving an eight-year ban.
Last year, appearing on the CBS 60 Minutes television show, he confessed to having used performance enhancing drugs during his career. That programme focused on allegations regarding doping at US Postal, which was then the subject of a US Federal Grand Jury investigation, shelved earlier this year.
Hamilton, aged 41, wrote to the IOC in June to formally offer to return the gold medal he had won. For Ekimov, it will be his third Olympic gold – he had won the individual pursuit in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and 12 years earlier had been a member of the Soviet Union’s victorious team pursuit squad at Seoul.
The reallocation of the medals has been confirmed just weeks before an eight year limitation regarding amendments to Olympic results was due to come into force at the end of this month which would have made it impossible for the Athens results to be changed.
In what could end up being one of the more fiendish of cyling trivia questions in years to come, Hamilton’s disqualification means that a sixth Team Sky rider, besides Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Rigoberto Uran, Geraint Thomas and Peter Kennaugh, has clinched an Olympic medal in the past fortnight.
That man is former world time trial champion Michael Rogers of Australia who finished fourth in the time trial at Athens and now receives the bronze medal. He won’t have far to look for it, either – that medal was won by the American Bobby Jullich, now a race coach at Team Sky, who himself gets awarded the silver medal from the 2004 Games.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.