SPORTS

IOC looking into USADA report on Armstrong for possible Olympic implications

10/11/2012 11:12 EDT | Updated 12/11/2012 05:12 EST
LONDON - The IOC is looking into the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's case against Lance Armstrong to see if there is enough evidence to open an investigation that could result in the stripping of Olympic medals.

Bronze medals won by Armstrong in 2000 and former teammate Levi Leipheimer in 2008 could come under scrutiny following USADA's report exposing "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."

The International Olympic Committee said Thursday it was reviewing the 200-page report "together will all related documentation."

"It would be premature at this stage to say whether the IOC is contemplating any action," spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said in an email to The Associated Press. "Should we come across any evidence that would justify opening a disciplinary procedure, we would of course act accordingly."

USADA issued the report Wednesday explaining its reasons for stripping Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and banning him for life from Olympic sports. The report, which included witness testimony from 11 former teammates, accused Armstrong of cheating through the use of EPO, blood doping and other drugs and pushing his teammates to do the same.

Leipheimer, among the cyclists who testified against Armstrong, also confessed to doping. He was provisionally suspended Thursday by his Belgium-based Omega Pharma-Quick-Step team.

Leipheimer was Armstrong's teammate for five years with the U.S. Postal, Astana and RadioShack teams.

Armstrong won the time trial bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Leipheimer won bronze in the same event at the 2008 Beijing Games.

"It has been the policy in the past wherever there was enough information to proceed we would proceed," IOC executive board member Denis Oswald of Switzerland told the AP in a telephone interview. "All cases which have been now established will be reviewed.

"Where we have jurisdiction, I guess the attitude will be to disqualify the relevant athletes and to possibly see whether it's appropriate to reallocate medals."

The IOC has an eight-year statute of limitations for changing Olympic results, which could affect any moves to take Armstrong's medal from 2000.

"For Armstrong, I'm not sure," Oswald said. "Sydney might be too late."

While Leipheimer's affidavit in the USADA report gives plenty of details of his doping and relationship with Italian doctor Michele Ferrari, it does not specify whether he was cheating in 2008 at the time of the Olympics. His Astana team director at the time was Johan Bruyneel, who also has been charged with participating in the alleged doping conspiracy and is taking his case to arbitration.

"What happened in some cases, athletes have voluntarily given back their medals in a few instances," Oswald said. "If they have admitted, maybe they will just accept to lose their medals."

In August, the IOC formally stripped former Armstrong teammate Tyler Hamilton of his time trial gold medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics after he confessed to doping.

The gold was reallocated to Russian rider Viatcheslav Ekimov, who was not mentioned in the USADA report but rode with Armstrong on the U.S. Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams. He retired from cycling at the end of the 2006 season but remained in the sport as a director of the Discovery and RadioShack teams.

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