Michael Rogers has been awarded a bronze medal for the individual time trial in Athens – 11 years after competing in the race. The Australian rider originally finished fourth but was promoted to third when Tyler Hamilton was stripped of his gold three years ago for doping offences. Even so, it took until this week before the medal was presented to him.
After admitting to having used performance enhancing drugs during his career, Hamilton wrote to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2012, offering to return the gold medal he had won. It was subsequently awarded to Viatcheslav Ekimov of Russia with American Bobby Julich taking silver.
The IOC passed a new rule as part of its Agenda 2020 reforms last year and is making an effort to honour clean athletes who are awarded Olympic medals after others have been disqualified following doping cases. A ceremony was therefore held for Rogers at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne. IOC President Thomas Bach, Vice-President John Coates – who was head of the Australian team at the time – and International Cycling Union (UCI) chief Brian Cookson were all in attendance.
"When I reminisce about that day 11 years ago in Athens, my first reaction is that of a smile,” said Rogers. “This bronze medal gives me great satisfaction and adds something tangible to my great memories."
Rogers himself was briefly suspended from racing for a doping offence in 2013. The Tinkoff-Saxo rider tested positive for clenbuterol after winning the Japan Cup but argued that this had been caused by eating contaminated meat in China. The UCI eventually concluded that there was a “significant probability” that this was the case and cleared him to return to racing.