The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has denied Nigerian men's 4x400 metres relay team the gold medal won by USA at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
The CAS overruled the decision made on 18 July 2004 in Grossetto by the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) Council that American athlete Jerome Young was ineligible to compete in Sydney and thus annulled all his past results, including that of the US men’s 4x400m relay team.
The CAS panel upheld the appeal filed by US athletes Michael Johnson, Antonio Pettigrew, Angelo Taylor, Alvin Harrison and *Calvin Harrison in conjuction with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) against the IAAF Council decision.
The IAAF Council queried the validity of the gold medal awarded to the US 4x400m Team in Sydney as a result of a CAS decision of 28 June 2004 which imposed a two-year period of ineligibility (from 26 June 1999 to 25 June 2001) on a member of the US Team, Jerome Young.
The Nigerian quartet of Sunday Bada, Clement Chukwu, June Monye and Enefiok Udo-Obong, Jamaica and the Bahamas - the three teams that finished behind the Americans in Sydney - were the losers of this decision.
The CAS statement reads: "As a consequence of Jerome Young’s ineligibility to have competed at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, the IAAF Council decided on 18 July 2004 that the results of the US Team be annulled and that the final rankings be revised accordingly.
"However, the issue of the medals allocation would still had to be submitted to the IOC Executive Board.
"The IAAF decision was challenged before CAS by the USOC and by the athletes Johnson, Pettigrew, Taylor, A. Harrison and C. Harrison.
"The matter was submitted to a CAS Panel composed of three arbitrators: Mr Kaj Hobér, Sweden (President), Messrs Yves Fortier, Canada and David Williams, New Zealand (arbitrators) and a hearing was held in the presence of the parties’ representatives on 10 May 2005.
"The CAS Panel noted that the IAAF Rules in force at the time of the Sydney Games did not provide for the annulment of results obtained by a team, when a member of that team was found later to have been ineligible to compete at the time of the event.
"The arbitrators considered that the interpretation made by the IAAF of the rules in force in 2000 was not correct.
"In conclusion, the Panel decided that on the basis of the IAAF Rules applicable at the time of the Sydney Games, the results of the men’s 4x400m Relay event at the Sydney Games should not be amended and that only Jerome Young in the US Team should be stripped of his gold medal.
"The CAS Panel also emphasised that the current IAAF Rules (2004-2005 Edition) provide expressly for what happens when an athlete who is a member of a relay team is found guilty of doping. "
Though, the CAS statement assured that a case similar to the present one is not likely to happen again, Africa has once again lost a gold medal.
The USA Track & Field reacted to the news by thanking the Court of Arbitration for Sport "for its thoughtful consideration of this issue, which from the beginning has hinged on the application of rules and due process".
"Now that a decision has been rendered, the sport can continue to move forward in a positive direction." they concluded.
Three members of that 2000 relay squad are presently serving doping offences.
Jamaican-born Jerome Young was banned for life from the sport in 2004 for a second doping offence and has vowed never to "give the medal back".
Alvin Harrison accepted a four-year suspension for infractions related to the BALCO doping scandal in 2004, while twin brother Calvin was suspended for two years for a positive test for the banned stimulant modafinil.
France was re-awarded the gold medal stripped from the same USA men’s 4x400m relay team at the World Athletics Championships 2003 in Paris, after the Americans were disqualified following the positive drugs test of *Calvin Harrison, at the TDK Golden League meeting in Paris St-Denis on July 1st, 2005.
The presentation of the 2003 WC 4 x 400m gold medals to Stéphane Diagana, Naman Keita, Leslie Djhone, and Mark Raquil was done by IAAF's Treasurer Jean Poczobut.
*Ran in both relay teams in 2000 and 2003.
see also: Nigeria to get relay gold
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