Tyson Gay returns Olympic silver medal with doping ban

Tyson Gay
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Tyson Gay was suspended one year for his failed drug tests last year and loses all of his results from July 15, 2012, including an Olympic 4x100m relay silver medal, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Friday.

Gay, 31, has returned the silver medal to the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Asked if Gay’s disqualified results meant the entire 2012 U.S. Olympic 4x100m relay team has been stripped of its medals, a spokesman for the IAAF [track and field’s international governing body] responded via email:

“Yes – according to IAAF Rule 41 of IAAF competition rules of 2012.”

Rule 41 states:

1. Where the Athlete who has committed an anti-doping rule violation competed as a member of a relay team, the relay team shall be automatically disqualified from the Event in question, with all resulting consequences for the relay team, including the forfeiture of all titles, awards, medals, points and prize money.

That would move Trinidad and Tobago up to silver and France to bronze.

“The IOC and the IAAF are the ruling authority on that decision, and we will obviously cooperate with them on this matter in the days ahead,” USOC spokesperson Patrick Sandusky said in a statement.

“We appreciate Tyson doing the right thing by immediately withdrawing from competition once he was notified, accepting responsibility for his decisions, and fully and truthfully cooperating with us in our ongoing investigation into the circumstances surrounding his case,” USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart said in a press release.

Gay tested positive three times last year for “an exogenous androgenic anabolic steroid and/or its metabolites,” USADA said, but since the tests were in short succession, they were treated as one failed offense.

Gay revealed he failed a drug test on July 14 and has not competed since. USADA backdated his one-year suspension to June 23, 2013, the day one of his samples was collected at the U.S. Outdoor Championships.

Gay would be eligible for this year’s U.S. Championships under a one-year suspension, but he would have to file a petition by June 16 for consideration, according to The Associated Press. Nationals start June 26. Gay plans to return in July, according to Reuters.

“For providing substantial assistance to USADA; Gay was eligible for up to a three-quarter reduction of the otherwise applicable two-year sanction under the [World Anti-Doping Agency] Code (or a six-month suspension). Gay’s sanction is subject to appeal by the IAAF and by the World Anti-Doping Agency,” USADA said in its press release.

Gay first used a product that contained a prohibited substance on July 15, 2012, USADA said, less than three weeks before his first race at the London Olympics. All of his competitive results since that date have been disqualified, USADA said.

Gay was part of the U.S. 4x100m relay team that won silver on Aug. 11, 2012. He ran the third leg after Justin Gatlin and Trell Kimmons and before Ryan Bailey.

“I don’t know of anything going on,” Gatlin said when asked if he had been contacted about his Olympic relay result, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It was the first Olympic medal of Gay’s career. Gay won triple gold at the 2007 World Championships, before Usain Bolt began dominating sprints. Gay has since dealt with injuries but ran 9.69 seconds in the 100m in 2009 and is tied as the second fastest man ever with Jamaican Yohan Blake.

“USA Track & Field is gravely disappointed any time an athlete uses performance-enhancing drugs, and Tyson Gay’s case serves as a lesson about the consequences of making poor decisions,” USA Track and Field CEO Max Siegel said in a statement. “We appreciate that Tyson accepted responsibility and has assisted USADA by providing information to help battle the use of [performance-enhancing drugs]. We thank USADA for their vigilant work on this case and for their leadership in the pursuit of clean sport.”

Gay’s first positive test was revealed the same day last year that Jamaican Olympic champion sprinters Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson‘s positive tests were also revealed, for banned stimulants.

Powell and Simpson have been suspended until December but have planned appeals.

“I don’t have a sabotage story,” Gay told the AP in a phone interview last year. ” … I basically put my trust in someone and was let down.”

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