Johnson's five golds may decrease to four

Updated: July 17, 2004, 12:37 PM ET
Associated Press

GROSSETO, Italy -- Michael Johnson should have a better idea Sunday whether he'll lose his relay gold medal from the 2000 Olympics as part of the Jerome Young doping case.

The International Association of Athletics Federations will hold an unusual council meeting, where it is expected to rule on whether to recommend to the International Olympic Committee to strip the United States of the victory.

The meeting, at the junior world championships, comes 2½ weeks after the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled 400-meter world champion Jerome Young, who ran in the 1,600-meter relay's opening and semifinal rounds, should be stripped of his Olympic gold because of a positive doping test in 1999.

Young, who has denied taking a prohibited substance, was suspended but later exonerated by USA Track and Field, enabling him to compete in Sydney. But the court said Young was improperly cleared, should not have been allowed to go to the 2000 Olympics and should be stripped of the medal.

The court did not make any decisions about the entire U.S. team, but the IAAF most likely will make recommendations on both matters, which the IOC is expected to accept.

The gold was the fifth and final for Johnson, the 200- and 400-meter world record holder who ran the anchor leg in the relay final. Other members of the team were twin brothers Alvin and Calvin Harrison, Antonio Pettigrew and Angelo Taylor.

More than a half dozen Americans are under doping suspicion with the Olympics less than a month away.

Four, including 100-meter world record-holder Tim Montgomery, face possible lifetime bans after being accused by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency of offenses. The four have not tested positive, but are accused based on information gathered in the criminal investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative in Burlingame, Calif. All four have denied the charges, and all failed to make the U.S. Olympic team at this week's trials in Sacramento, Calif.

Two others, Calvin Harrison and distance runner Regina Jacobs, tested positive for banned substances. Harrison finished seventh in the 400 on Thursday, the same day Jacobs announced her retirement.

Three more U.S. athletes, hurdler Larry Wade and sprinters Mickey Grimes and Torri Edwards, have been identified publicly as testing positive for drugs in the last three days.

If the IAAF says Young was ineligible and should forfeit his medal, he will be invited to appear before a hearing, IOC president Jacques Rogge said this month. If the IAAF finds all the runners should be disqualified, they will also be given a hearing.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press