IOC To Probe Lance's Olympic Performance

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 1 2012 11:51 AM

Lance Armstrong's Once-Full Trophy Case May Be About To Get Even Emptier

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Lance Armstrong celebrates on the podium after winning the bronze medal in the men's individual time trial of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

Photo by Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images.

The International Olympic Committee may become the latest sporting body to strip Lance Armstrong of one of his titles.

An IOC official told Reuters this morning that the committee "will now immediately" begin investigating whether the now-banned pro cyclist was doping when he won a bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Games.

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Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles earlier this month after the International Cycling Union ratified a USADA ruling that the cancer survivor's record-setting professional career was fueled by an elaborate and sophisticated doping program dating back to 1998 (a charge Armstrong continues to deny but one he is no longer fighting in court). While the UCI ruling erased Lance's name from pro cycling record books dating back to 1998, the group didn't have the authority to take back Armstrong's Olympic time-trial medal.

Given the damning report from USADA, the Olympic committee will likely have little trouble finding the evidence it would need to strip Armstrong of his third-place medal. But one potential hurdle standing in the way of such a move is the IOC's eight-year statute of limitations for changing Olympic results. Under that statute, Armstrong was in the clear beginning in 2008.

Still, the IOC may have found a way around that rule, as VP Thomas Bach explained to Reuters last month:

"USADA's report has given some pointers that the statute of limitation was interrupted through Lance Armstrong lying about doping," Bach, a lawyer who heads the IOC's juridical commission, told Reuters in an interview. "We will have to examine to see if this is a way we can follow according to Swiss law."

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. Follow him on Twitter.