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Olympics

Armstrong stripped of Sydney Olympic bronze

Officials have stripped Lance Armstrong of the last cycling award from the second phase of his career, his Olympic bronze medal. The International Olympic Committee acted ahead of a high-profile talk show "confession."

Lance Armstrong is now no longer noted in the history books as an Olympic medalist, having had his seven Tour de France titles stripped in October last year.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Thursday that it had demanded the return of the Sydney bronze medal Armstrong won in 2000.

"The IOC has asked that the medal and certificate be returned by Armstrong to the United States Olympic Committee, which should forward them to the IOC," the Olympic governing body said. "The decision was taken in principle at the IOC Executive Board meeting in December, but its implementation required the expiration of the appeal deadline."

Armstrong was set to appear in an extended interview with US talk show hostess Oprah Winfrey on Thursday, a discussion in which he reportedly "confesses" to having taken performance enhancing substances.

Armstrong never failed a doping test during his career, and denied the allegations for many years, but the US Anti-Doping Agency said in a report that the legendary cyclist led "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."

World cycling's UCI governing body stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles, won consecutively between 1999 and 2005, in October. They did not allocate the titles to another cyclist. Similarly, preliminary reports on Thursday suggested that Armstrong's Sydney bronze would not go to another rider.

Armstrong's "second career" starting in 1998, after he overcame testicular cancer, has been wiped from the record books.

msh/hc (dpa, Reuters)