EIGHT YEARS after winning Olympic medals in Athens, four track and field athletes from eastern Europe were ordered to hand them back Wednesday because of positive doping tests, while Lance Armstrong can hold onto his bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Games a little while longer.
The International Olympic Committee executive board disqualified four athletes whose 2004 Athens doping samples were retested this year and came back positive for steroids, including shot put gold medalist Yuriy Bilonog, of Ukraine.
Also stripped of medals were hammer throw silver medalist Ivan Tskikhan, of Belarus, and two bronze medalists - women's shot putter Svetlana Krivelyova, of Russia, and discus thrower Irina Yatchenko, of Belarus.
The IOC held off stripping Armstrong of the bronze he won 12 years ago in the cycling road time trial in Sydney, citing procedural reasons for the delay. The International Cycling Union stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles from 1999-2005.
In other Olympic news:
* Yves Niare, 35, who held the French record in the shot put, died in a traffic accident.
John Coughlin, winner of this year's U.S. pairs skating championship with partner Caydee Denney, has had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. There is no timetable for his return.