Track legend Michael Johnson and the other members of the U.S. 4x400-meter relay team should keep their gold medals from the 2000 Olympics in Sydney despite the positive drug test of one relay team member, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled yesterday.
Jerome Young, who tested positive for a steroid a year before those Games and was retroactively suspended, should forfeit his medal as recommended by the world governing body of track and field (IAAF), CAS stated in its decision.
The U.S. Olympic Committee and the other members of the team jointly appealed a recommendation by the IAAF that the entire team be stripped of its gold medals. CAS supported the USOC's contention that the IAAF's rules in place at the time of the 2000 Olympics did not support annulment of the entire team's results.
A USA Track and Field panel secretly cleared Young of wrongdoing for the '99 positive test, paving the way for him to compete in Sydney.
The decision means Johnson will not have to surrender his fifth and final Olympic gold medal. It also means that the other relay team members, twins Alvin and Calvin Harrison, Antonio Pettigrew and Jerome Taylor, will get to keep theirs.
Both Harrisons are serving drug suspensions connected to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative scandal. Young, who tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) last year, was banned from the sport for life.
"This case was about the proper application of rules by an international sports federation and the preservation of due process for athletes at the Olympic Games," the USOC said in a statement.
-- Amy Shipley