American cyclist Tyler Hamilton
Just days before the eight-year deadline expires, the IOC formally stripped American cyclist Tyler Hamilton of his 2004 gold for doping Friday and awarded the medal to a Russian rider who now becomes a three-time Olympic champion.
Also, French runner Hassan Hirt tested positive for the blood-booster EPO, an official with knowledge of the result told The Associated Press on Friday. The IOC said he was ordered to leave the Olympics.
Hirt was tested during training in France on Aug. 3, according to the official. He said Hirt had been targeted by the French anti-doping agency for several months. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the case.
The International Olympic Committee executive board notified Hamilton — a former teammate of Lance Armstrong — that he has been disqualified from his victory in the road race time trial at the Athens Games, reports The Associated Press.
The medal will now go to Viatcheslav Ekimov, another former Armstrong teammate who already has two Olympic golds. American Bobby Julich will be moved up from bronze to silver, and Michael Rogers of Australia from fourth to bronze.
After years of denials, Hamilton told CBS's "60 Minutes" last year that he had repeatedly used performance-enhancing drugs. The IOC asked for documents from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency before reallocating the medals.
"Hamilton will be asked to hand the medal back and there will be an exchange of medals with the other athletes," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.
The IOC's move to change the medals was first reported Thursday by The Associated Press.
The IOC has an eight-year statute of limitations for changing Olympic results. The period expires at the end of this month.
USADA said at the time of Hamilton's doping admission that he had turned over his gold medal to the doping agency, but the IOC had not received it and the race result had not been officially overturned.
Hamilton sent a letter to IOC President Jacques Rogge on June 28 volunteering to give up the medal and withdraw his name from the record of Olympic champions.