Annus considers himself the champion

Updated: August 31, 2004, 5:57 PM ET
Associated Press

BUDAPEST, Hungary -- The Hungarian hammer thrower who was stripped of his gold medal after refusing to take a follow-up drug test at the Athens Olympics said Tuesday he still considers himself the champion and vowed to keep his medal.

Adrian Annus also reiterated his decision to retire rather than deal with what he called a campaign to manipulate test results against him.

"Hammer throwing was my life and this wasn't the way I planned to bid farewell to the sport," Annus told the state-run news wire MTI. "I only want my family and I to be left alone."

The International Olympic Committee said Annus passed two drug tests -- one before and one right after his event on Aug. 22. Although both samples came back clean, the analysis "showed evidence of belonging to two different athletes, indicating possible tampering," the IOC said.

Annus was ordered to take another drug test after he returned to Hungary, but failed to show up. Refusing to take a drug test is considered the same as testing positive.

He was stripped of the medal at an IOC disciplinary hearing that he did not attend.

Annus said he is still considering legal action against the IOC.

"Many law firms have contacted me in the last few days, including several foreign ones," Annus said. "If there is a way for me to prove my truth by legal means, I'll take the necessary steps."

Hungarian Olympic Committee spokesman Dezso Vad said the organization has been notified by the IOC about returning Annus's medal, but that no deadline has been set.

"If Annus would have stayed longer in the Olympic Village, the IOC would have taken the medal from him there," Dezso told The Associated Press.

Three Hungarians forfeited medals in Athens because of doping -- Annus, discus gold medalist Robert Fazekas and weightlifter Ferenc Gyurkovics, who won a silver.

After Annus' medal was stripped, Japan's Koji Murofushi was awarded the gold, Ivan Tikhon of Belarus moved up to silver, and Turkey's Esref Apak won the bronze.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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