BEIJING - The US 4x400m relay team that won gold at the Sydney Games in 2000 have been stripped of their medals after Antonio Pettigrew admitted to doping.
This was announced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Saturday.
It was the sixth American medal from the Sydney Games lost to doping in the past eight months after US sprinter Marion Jones was stripped of her five medals due to her doping confession last year.
IOC president Jacques Rogge said 15 to 17 athletes have been nabbed in recent weeks in pre-Games testing.
"These are 17 cheats that will not falsify the competition," he said.
The number is actually higher: 11 Greek weightlifters were suspended after testing positive for a steroid, and Bulgaria withdrew its entire weightlifting team after 11 athletes were caught. Several athletes in other sports have also been banned, including seven Russian female track and field athletes who were suspended this week by the IAAF for tampering with urine samples.
"This is not a trend," Rogge said. "It's a deliberate policy."
He said the IOC would wait for more information from the Balco steroid investigation before reallocating any of the medals that have been taken away from American athletes competing at the 2000 Sydney Games for doping. - Reuters