Armstrong returns Olympic bronze medal
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lance Armstrong has returned his Olympic bronze cycling medal, the latest fallout from his confession to using performance-enhancing drugs.
Armstrong won the medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. The International Olympic Committee in January vacated the medal Armstrong won in the road time trial. Armstrong tweeted Thursday that he gave it back and a U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman released a statement confirming its return.
Armstrong's tweet included a photo of the medal and its blue ribbon along with the message: "The 2000 Bronze is back in possession of @usolympics and will be in Switzerland asap."
Mark Higgins, who has been a manager and spokesman for Armstrong for several years, gave the medal to USOC chief executive officer Scott Blackmun at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport on Thursday. Armstrong declined further comment.
The IOC has said it will not reallocate Armstrong's bronze medal, just as cycling's ruling body decided not to declare any winners for the Tour titles once held by the American. Spanish rider Abraham Olano Manzano, who finished fourth in Sydney, will not be upgraded and the bronze medal will be left vacant in Olympic records.
Armstrong denied doping for years until his confession in January in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. The confession came after a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report detailed widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs by Armstrong and his U.S. Postal Service team. Armstrong also has been stripped of the seven Tour de France titles he won from 1999-2005.
The IOC previously stripped Tyler Hamilton, a former Armstrong teammate, of his time-trial gold medal from the 2004 Olympics after he acknowledged doping.
Armstrong won his medal two months after winning his second Tour de France title. His U.S. Postal Service teammate, Vyacheslav Ekimov of Russia, won the gold and Jan Ullrich of Germany won silver.
Ekimov was Armstrong's teammate during the time period in which USADA outlined widespread doping on the team. Ullrich, who was a chief rival of Armstrong and finished second to him in the Tour de France three times, confirmed in an interview with a German magazine in June that he used blood-doping treatments during his career.
The IOC has not brought charges against either Ekimov or Ullrich.