By Duncan Mackay at the Lenexpo Exhibition Complex in St Petersburg

USA 4x400m relay Athens 2004May 31 - The United States have been allowed to keep the gold medals they won in the women's 4x400 metres relay at Athens 2004, despite one of their runners having admitted using banned performance-enhancing drugs at the time.

Crystal Cox, who competed in the heats, was stripped of her gold medal after her admission in 2010 that she had used anabolic steroids for three years up until 2004 and was banned for four years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have controversially decided to let the rest of the team keep their medals.

That means Russia will remain in the silver medal position, Jamaica the bronze and fourth-placed Britain miss out.

"The IOC considers the matter closed," a spokesman for the IOC told insidethegames here, where the ruling Executive Board are meeting.

"Crystal Cox had her medal withdrawn but the rest of the team will retain their medals

"The IAAF is responsible for interpreting their rules and amending results of their competition where appropriate - in this case the time limit has now expired, and the results and medal allocations stay as they are."

UK Athletics criticised the decision, which means that they do not receive the bronze medals they had been expecting.

"We've yet to hear through official channels of this decision," said a spokeswoman for UK Athletics.

"If it is correct then it is very disappointing for the athletes concerned and we will take time to review the decision, including consulting with the BOA (British Olympic Association), before deciding what further action we might take."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
February 2010: IOC disciplinary panel could give Britain Olympic medal from Athens 2004
January 2010: Exclusive - Fraser dreaming of elusive Olympic medal after latest US drugs revelations