IOC Wants Wrestler's Gold

The IOC recommended on Monday that German freestyle wrestler Alexander Leipold be stripped of his gold medal after failing his drug test at the Sydney Games.

Leipold tested positive for the steroid nandrolone. His gold medal would go to Brandon Slay, of Amarillo, Texas, who lost 4-0 to Leipold in the final of the 16 1/2-pound division.

Leipold appeared at a hearing of the International Olympic Committee medical commission. The panel was investigating two positive drug cases in wrestling from the final weekend of the games.

With his wife crying by his side, Leipold spoke after emerging from the IOC hearing.

He said he had no idea how he could have tested positive for nandrolone, an anabolic steroid that has produced a spate of drug scandals around the world in recent years.

"It's not the kind of drug you take for wrestling," he said. "I don't wrestle with power but with tactic and technique."

If the IOC executive board, as expected, endorses the medical panel's recommendation, Leipold would become the third athlete from the Sydney Olympics to lose a gold medal for a drug offense.

The other wrestler accused of doping was Mongolia's Oyungbileg Purevbaatar, who tested positive for the diuretic furosemide after finishing fifth in the 127@3/4-pound class.

The IOC panel recommended that he be disqualified and his results wiped off the books.

Prince Alexandre de Merode, chairman of the IOC medical commission, said Leipold's sample showed 20 nanograms of nandrolone per milliliter of urine. The established limit is 2 nanograms per milliliter

"When you find 10 times more than the fixed limit we believe the case is clear," de Merode said. "The presence of the drug is clear. We heard the German delegation and have spoken with the athlete in an open way.

"The decision we made is to propose to the executive board the disqualification of the athlete, who will be asked to give back the gold medal."

De Merode said the recommendations would be made directly to IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, who was traveling Monday to Sydney for the Paralympics.

He said Samaranch will arrange a conference call with the IOC's four vice presidents, or the entire 15-member executive board, to act on the two cases. This is expected to take place within a few days.

Leipold said he is befuddled at what has happened.

"There are a lot of competitors, sportsmen, who have this problem," he said. "Nobody know what happens, what has nandrolone in it."

"I was tested before at the end of August and was clean, negative," he added. "I know I was the favorite for the (gold) medal. I won the world championships three times. It's terrible, it's not logical for my sport.

"You wrestle for 26 years and you make medals step by step. In Germany I'm always tested out of competition. Every time, I'm clean."

Asked about the prospect of having the gold medal taken away, Leipold said, "I'm hopeful because I don't take anything, but they have their rules."

The Mongolian wrestler did not attend the hearing and was not represented by anyone. De Merode said Purevbaatar sent a statement saying he did use furosemide, but a month before the games.

The two positive results were confirmed the day after the games ended.

While the IOC medical commission usually judges drug cases within a few days, it put off action because the athletes had already left and were not available for a hearing.

Five athletes were stripped of medals in Sydney, including two gold medalists.

Romanian gymnast Andreea Raducan lost her all-around gold after testing positive for pseudoephedrine, apparently from cold pills, while Bulgarian women's weightlifter Izabela Dragneva had her gold taken away after her urine sample showed traces of furosemide, a banned diuretic.

Two men's Bulgarian weightlifters lost silver and bronze medals after testing positive for furosemide, and an Armenian weightlifter was stripped of a bronze for nandrolone.

The two wrestling cases brought to 11 the number of positive tests reported by the IOC during the Sydney Games nine from in-competition drug controls and two from out-of-competition screening.

The 11 positives are the most at the Olympics

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