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U.S. sprinters stripped of gold medals

  |   Aug. 2, 2008 at 12:36 PM
BEIJING, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- U.S. sprinter Antonio Pettigrew and his entire 1,600-meter relay team were stripped of their gold medals from the 2000 Sydney Games Saturday, officials said.

The reason is that Pettigrew has admitted using performance-enhancing drugs before, during and after those Olympics, The New York Times reported. Although Pettigrew never failed a drug test, he admitted in May to using the blood booster EPO and human growth hormone. He returned his medal in June.

The International Olympic Committee said teammates Michael Johnson, Angelo Taylor, Jerome Young and the twins Alvin and Calvin Harrison also will lose their medals. Johnson, winner of gold in three individual events, voluntarily gave up his relay gold medal in July, the newspaper said.

"We fully support the action taken today by the IOC," Darryl Seibel, spokesman for the United States Olympic Committee, told the Times. "Athletes must understand that if they make the choice to cheat, there will be consequences and those consequences can be severe."

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