Cyclist Rogers finally receives Athens bronze 11 years on

Tue Sep 1, 2015 10:26am EDT
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BERLIN (Reuters) - Australian cyclist Michael Rogers was officially awarded an Olympic bronze medal on Monday -- 11 years after the ride in which he earned it.

The 35-year-old finished fourth in the men's individual time trial in Athens in 2004 but after winner Tyler Hamilton was stripped of his gold three years ago for doping, Rogers was elevated to third place.

"What a great honor," Rogers said during a ceremony at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne, attended by IOC President Thomas Bach, Vice-President John Coates -- who at the time was head of the Australian team -- and International Cycling Union (UCI) chief Brian Cookson.

"When I reminisce about that day 11 years ago in Athens, my first reaction is that of a smile. This bronze medal gives me great satisfaction and adds something tangible to my great memories," said Rogers.

The IOC passed a new rule as part of its Agenda 2020 reforms last year, aiming to honor clean athletes who are awarded an Olympic medal following a doping case.

American Hamilton was initially allowed to keep his medal in 2004, despite testing positive for blood doping, because the laboratory accidentally destroyed his B sample by deep-freezing it.

The following year, Hamilton tested positive for a blood transfusion and was banned for two years. He again tested positive in 2009 and was banned for eight years, finally admitting doping in an interview in 2011.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Neville Dalton)