IOC Strips Lance of Bronze Medal

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 17 2013 9:49 AM

Lance Loses Olympic Bronze Night Before Oprah Interview Airs

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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.

As you no doubt know by now, today's the day that (part one!) of Lance Armstrong's doping confession to Oprah Winfrey will air—something that makes the timing of this that much more fitting: (via the Associated Press)

The IOC has stripped Lance Armstrong of his bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Olympics because of his involvement in doping, officials familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Two officials said the IOC sent a letter to Armstrong on Wednesday night asking him to return the medal. The move came after the International Olympic Committee was notified by cycling's governing body that Armstrong had not appealed the decision to disqualify him.
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The IOC says the timing was just a coincidence, and that the only reason the committee waited so long to make the long-expected move official was because they were waiting for Armstrong's window to appeal to close. Still, it's worth remembering just how angry Olympic officials are at Armstrong (who despite never dominating the Games as he did the Tour nonetheless served as a poster boy for the type of less-TV friendly sports that the Olympics are known for) and his entire doping ordeal.  

International Olympic Committee member (and former anti-doping official) Dick Pound told Reuters on Tuesday that if Armstrong implicates the International Cycling Union as some have suggested he will, the IOC would consider temporarily dropping the sport. "We could say, 'look, you've clearly got a problem why don't we give you four years, eight years to sort it out,'" Pound said. "And when you think you're ready come on back we'll see whether it would be a good idea to put you back on the program."

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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