Fallout from Lance Armstrong's revelations of doping, to be disclosed in an Oprah Winfrey television interview on Thursday, could end up costing cycling a spot in future Olympic Games.
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Still unknown in the Armstrong revelations is whether he will implicate others along with himself. If indeed Armstrong tries to take others, particularly the sport's governing body, down with him, the International Olympic Committee may have no choice but to keep cycling out of the Games.
"We could say, 'look, you've clearly got a problem why don't we give you four years, eight years to sort it out," Dick Pound of the IOC told Reuters. "And when you think you're ready come on back we'll see whether it would be a good idea to put you back on the program."
Pound has experience in these matters, as he formerly led the World Anti-Doping Agency. He indicated that the UCI, cycling's governing body, has not taken sufficiently strong action, and that the IOC might need to strongarm cycling on its own.
"The only way [cycling] is going to clean up is if all these people say 'hey, we're no longer in the Olympics and that's where we want to be so let's earn our way back into it,'" Pound said. "It was the same in weightlifting a few years ago, all of a sudden when you get right up against it things go fuzzy and they say, 'Well, we can't punish innocent athletes in these sports by dropping the sport from the program.'"
Pound has a reputation for taking on corruption, having started WADA and helped take action in the IOC itself after the scandals of Salt Lake City's Olympic corruption. WADA was founded after a doping scandal in the 1998 Tour de France.
No changes in cycling's Olympic status are likely before the election of a new IOC president next year. And any changes will be dependent on whether Armstrong does in fact attempt to include others in the conspiracy.
-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-
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