Thirteen years after Lance Armstrong won a Olympic bronze medal in Sydney, Australia, news is breaking that once his confession of doping airs, the shamed icon will be asked to give it back.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) communications director Mark Adams toldThe Independent if Armstrong, who for more than a decade vehemently denied doping, does make a full confession in his interview, the IOC will ask for the medal to be returned.
"From our side - clearly if he admits he cheated then we will be asking for the medal back as we would with any athlete," Adams said.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had said it could strip Armstrong of his road time trial bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympics after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's report of widespread doping by Armstrong and some teammates during his seven Tour de France victories from 1999-2005.
In December, the IOC postponed a decision on whether to strip Armstrong of his Olympic bronze medal because it had to wait until the International Cycling Federation, or UCI, had declared all his results ineligible, the Irish Independent Online writes.
The IOC can retroactively strip Olympic medals if proof of doping emerges later or an athlete admits to cheating, ESPN writes.
In August 2012, the IOC stripped Tyler Hamilton, a former Armstrong teammate, of his time-trial gold medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics after he admitted to doping.
And the IOC took away Marion Jones' five medals from the 2000 Sydney Games after she admitted using performance-enhancing drugs.
Two months after winning his second Tour de France title in 2000, Armstrong took bronze in Sydney behind winner and U.S. Postal Service teammate Vyacheslav Ekimov of Russia and Jan Ullrich of Germany.
The IOC has no plans to reallocate Armstrong's bronze medal to any other rider, just as the UCI decided not to pick winners for the Tour de France titles once held by the American. That means Spanish rider Abraham Olano Manzano, who finished fourth in Sydney, would not be upgraded and the third-place spot would be left vacant in the Olympic records.
Armstrong 'met the moment'
The bleak news mounted up for Armstrong last night when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said the TV mea culpa would not be enough to overturn his lifetime ban, The Daily Mailreported.
"Only when Mr Armstrong makes a full confession under oath - and tells the anti-doping authorities all he knows about doping activities - can any legal and proper process for him to seek any reopening or reconsideration of his lifetime ban commence," WADA director general David Howman said in a statement.
Armstrong was banned for life after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) found he had been at the heart of "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."
Appearing on CBS This Morning Tuesday, Winfrey confirmed that the 41-year-old Texan finally admitted to cheating. But she also hinted at an unexpected twist. "He did not come clean in the manner I expected. It was surprising to me," Winfrey teased.
Asked if Armstrong was contrite, Winfrey said: "I choose not to characterize. I would rather people make their own decisions. I thought he was serious. I thought he certainly prepared himself for this moment. He met the moment."
Winfrey’s OWN network airs the first part of her interview with Armstrong at 9 p.m. New York time. OWN planned to air one episode with Armstrong but expanded the program to air in primetime on two nights after the cyclist talked with Winfrey for more than two hours. The second half airs at 9 p.m. New York time on Jan. 18.