T&T men’s sprint relay team, which won bronze in the 2012 London Olympics, may be upgraded again after the entire US relay team was stripped of its silver medal yesterday as a result of Tyson Gay’s doping case, two officials with knowledge of the decision as reported by the Associated Press. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision has not yet been announced.
The International Olympic Committee notified the US Olympic Committee by letter that the 4x100 relay team has been disqualified and all the medals withdrawn, the officials said. The letter asks the USOC to collect the medals and return them to the IOC.
Gay returned his own medal last year after accepting a one-year doping suspension and the loss of results going back to July 2012, but the status of the US second-place finish in London and the medals of Gay’s relay teammates had remained in limbo until now.
President of T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) Brian Lewis yesterday said that he has received no official confirmation on the development.
“I haven’t seen a report from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) but we are looking forward to the official confirmation. We have to wait on the IOC to do additional deliberation, to confirm whether or not the silver medal will be reallocated,” said Lewis.
Under international rules, an entire team can be disqualified and stripped of medals because of doping by one member.
Gay was a member of the American team that finished second in London behind a Jamaican team anchored by Usain Bolt. The Americans set a national record in the final with a time of 37.04 seconds.
The other US team members losing medals are Trell Kimmons, Justin Gatlin, Ryan Bailey, Jeffery Demps and Darvis Patton. Kimmons, Gatlin and Bailey ran in the final with Gay.
It will be a second upgrade for local quartet of Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Richard Thompson, who some three years ago moved from fourth to third after the Canadian team of Justyn Warner, Gavin Smellie, Oluseyi Smith and Jared Connaughton, running the third leg and on the final turn, had taken one step on the lane line, earning the team an automatic disqualification.
Lewis was adamant about the TTOC joining with the global anti-doping community, with a clear focus on protecting the clean athlete.
“TTOC has been rigourous in protecting the rights of the clean athlete and this development only highlights the need to do so.”
Gatlin, who is in Qatar for the opening Diamond League meet of the season tomorrow, told AP that he was not aware of the decision and had no comment. Gatlin, who won the 100-meter gold medal at the 2004 Athens Games, served a four-year doping ban from 2006.
Gay tested positive for steroids at the US championships in 2013. He received a reduced suspension—rather than a two-year ban— because he cooperated with the US Anti-Doping Agency’s investigation that led to an eight-year ban for his former coach, Jon Drummond.
Gay’s results were annulled going back to July 15, 2012, the date when he first used a product containing a banned substance.
If the London medals are reallocated, the silver will go to T&T, who finished third in 38.12 seconds. The bronze would go to the French team which placed fourth in 38.16 seconds.
“Our athletes were denied the opportunity or moreso the glory to stand on the podium and receive the silver medal. This latest development strengthens the unwavering effort of the TTOC in protecting the rights of the clean athlete,” said Lewis.
The rules of track and field’s world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, mandated that the entire US team be disqualified, but the final decision was up to the IOC.
Drummond was the coach of the US relay team in London and placed Gay on the team. According to the USADA decision in Drummond’s case, the athlete took a banned substance in July 2012 with the coach’s knowledge.
The IOC has previously stripped US relay teams of medals retroactively for doping, including three teams from the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
The US was stripped of gold in the women’s 4x400 and bronze in the 4x100 following Marion Jones’ admission of doping. Jones returned her medals, but her teammates appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to keep theirs and won their case in 2010. The court said IAAF rules at the time did not allow entire teams to be disqualified because of doping by one athlete.
The IOC also stripped the US men’s 4x400 relay of their Sydney gold after a doping admission by Antonio Pettigrew.
In 2012, American runner Crystal Cox was stripped of her gold medal from the 4x400 relay at the 2004 Athens Olympics after admitting to doping. The IOC did not disqualify the rest of the team because it was unclear which rules were in effect at the time.