Lance Armstrong Returns Bronze Medal Won at 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2013

ASPEN, CO - AUGUST 25: Lance Armstrong finishes the Power of Four Mountain Bike Race on Aspen Mountain on August 25, 2012 in Aspen, Colorado. (Photo by Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images)
Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images

Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France championships, his relationship with the Livestrong Foundation and countless sponsorships since admitting to performance-enhancing-drug use during his career.   

Now the disgraced cyclist can add Olympic bronze medalist to the ever-growing list of accomplishments erased from the record books. In a picture distributed to his nearly four million followers on Twitter, Armstrong confirmed that he returned his bronze medal won at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney on Thursday:

Armstrong, who turns 42 next week, gave the medal to the United States Olympic Committee. Chief communications and public affairs officer Patrick Sandusky confirmed that the USOC had received the medal from Armstrong and will return it to the International Olympic Committee in the interim:

I can confirm that The United States Olympic Committee has received the bronze medal awarded to Lance Armstrong at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. The International Olympic Committee and the USOC had previously requested that the medal be returned. The USOC has made arrangements to return the medal to the IOC.

The IOC originally stripped Armstrong of his medal on Jan. 17, the same day the former American hero admitted to using PEDs in a special interview with Oprah Winfrey. Amid the leak of a 1,000-page U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report, Armstrong admitted years-long usage of blood transfusions, human growth hormone, testosterone and EPO, among other things.   

Despite having denied continuous allegations for years, Armstrong laid bare his transgressions and how he duped millions.

"This story was so perfect for so long. It's this myth, this perfect story, and it wasn't true," Armstrong said, via ESPN.

While the majority of the focus was on Armstrong's reign atop the Tour de France standings, his Olympic triumph also coincided with PED use. He won the bronze medal in the Road Time Trial at the 2000 Sydney Games, a surprising performance considering his consecutive Tour wins in years prior. 

Russia's Viatcheslav Ekimov pulled off the upset by winning the event, while German Jan Ullrich finished second. 

Olympians found in violation of performance-enhancing-drug violations are expected to return the medals they receive to the IOC, which then awards them to the rightful owner. Compliance is almost uniform among disgraced athletes.

However, IOC vice president Thomas Bach indicated at this week's IOC summit in Buenos Aires that Armstrong had yet to return the medal—eight months after the initial request, per Reuters.

"This (the IOC's January) decision has been communicated to Mr Armstrong and the USOC," Bach said. "This decision has not been appealed neither by Mr Armstrong, nor by the USOC and what we are lacking, sadly, is getting back the medal. Legally the case for the IOC is closed."

It's unclear what the IOC will do with the now-vacant medal. The committee could vote to award the bronze to Abraham Olano, the Spaniard who finished fourth in the event. However, Olano has also been the subject of doping allegations during his career, leaving the IOC with a difficult decision.