Jan Ullrich does not intend to return Olympic cycling medals
Lance Armstrong‘s biggest rival wants to keep his Olympic medals.
German Jan Ullrich said he’s keeping his medals (gold and silver from Sydney 2000) in his home, where anybody can come see them, according to several international reports citing an interview with Sky Sports.
The retired Ullrich, 39, won the 1997 Tour de France, gold in the 2000 Olympic road race and silver in the time trial. He admitted to blood doping during his career in June.
Then-International Olympic Committee vice president Thomas Bach of Germany said at the time that it was “too little, too late.”
“Jan Ullrich had his chance for a creditable admission a couple of years ago and he missed it,” Bach, elected as IOC president in September, said in an emailed statement. “Today’s confirmation of some of the already well known and established facts does not help Jan Ullrich nor cycling.”
Armstrong recently returned his 2000 Olympic bronze medal to the U.S. Olympic Committee. Unlike Armstrong, Ullrich has not been stripped of his Tour de France title or his Olympic medals.
“Almost everyone took performance-enhancing substances then. I took nothing that the others didn’t also take,” Ullrich told Focus magazine in June. “For me, fraud starts when I gain an advantage. That wasn’t the case. I wanted to ensure equality of opportunities.
“The issue is dealt with for me. I only want to look forward, and never again backward.”
Ullrich said he thinks Armstrong should keep his Tour de France titles because doping was so prevalent during that era.
“I am no better than Armstrong, but no worse either,” he said.
Ullrich won gold in the 2000 Olympic road race. The silver medalist, Alexandre Vinokourov, was suspended two years in 2007 for blood doping.
Ullrich won silver in the 2000 Olympic time trial. Armstrong’s bronze from that race was stripped. The time trial gold medalist Viatcheslav Ekimov, was a longtime teammate of Armstrong’s.
According to court documents, another stripped Tour de France winner, Floyd Landis, said Ekimov received blood transfusions with other USPS team members during the 2004 Tour de France.
The fourth-place finisher from that 2000 Olympic time trial, Spain’s Abraham Olano, was fired from his technical director role with the Vuelta a Espana Grand Tour in July after his name came up in French senate report of cyclists who doped in the 1998 Tour de France.
The fifth-place finisher from that race, France’s Laurent Jalabert, acknowledged a positive drug test from the 1998 Tour de France in July.