Eight years later, and only after a federal investigation exposed the cheating, Olympic track star Antonio Pettigrew made the moral decision to return the tainted gold medal he won in the 400 x 4 relay at the Sydney Olympics. (CNN with the story)
Don't hold your breath Barry Bonds gives back some home runs, or Roger Clemens returns a couple world series rings.
During last month's trial involving former athletics coach Trevor Graham, Pettigrew came clean about using EPO and human growth hormone from 1997 to 2003.
Graham was found guilty of lying to federal investigators about his relationship to a steroids dealer.
Pettigrew's decision to give up the gold for the 4x400-meter relay was expected, considering his testimony in the Graham trial.
After brief negotiations with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the agreement was made public. Pettigrew gave back the medal and all the other prizes he'd earned since 1997, including world championships in the 4x400 relays in 1997 and 1999.
Interesting that Pettigrew returned medals won since 1997. Although this decision appears a moral choice, remember that it took a drug investigation and a perjury trial to bring to light the PED cheating.
The 40-year-old assistant track coach at University of North Carolina also accepted a two-year ban from athletics, though that point is largely symbolic given his age. He retired from track in 2002.
Pettigrew's decision came a day after one of his relay teammates at the Sydney Olympics, Michael Johnson, said he would voluntarily give his medal back in the wake of Pettigrew's testimony.
"I feel cheated, betrayed and let down," Johnson wrote in a column in Tuesday's Daily Telegraph.
IOC officials said they will seek official verification of Pettigrew's admission and wait for the International Association of Athletics Federations to nullify the U.S. gold medal result.
After that, the IOC could officially disqualify the team and strip all the medals.
Will the Nigerian team be upgraded to the gold, once the Americans abdicate the thrown?
"Disqualifation of those who have admitted (doping) is one thing," IOC vice president Thomas Bach said in Athens, Greece. "Redistribution of medals to other people is another issue."
The IOC must act soon to get within the eight-year statute of limitations rule. The Sydney Olympics started on Oct. 1, 2000.
So now 3 of 4 sprinter on that 4 by 400 team have admitted to cheating:
Pettigrew's testimony means that three of the four runners from the U.S. relay team in the 2000 Olympic finals have been tainted by drugs.
Twins Alvin and Calvin Harrison both were suspended for doping violations. Alvin Harrison accepted a four-year ban in 2004 after admitting he used performance enhancers. Calvin Harrison tested positive for a banned stimulant in 2003 and was suspended for two years. Like Pettigrew, they were coached by Graham.
American track: taking quite a hit lately due to the PED cheating of a few...Putting the 'i' in illicit.