The International Olympic Committee stripped German freestyle wrestler Alexander Leipold of his Olympic gold medal today after he failed a drug test.

The gold will now go to the silver medalist, Brandon Slay, of Amarillo, Texas, who lost 4-0 to Leipold in the final of the 167 ½-pound division. South Korea’s Moon Eui Jae would move up from the bronze medal to silver, while Turkey’s Adem Bereket would go from fourth to third.

In a written statement, the IOC executive committee said it had ordered the German Olympic Committee to “withdraw and return” Leipold’s gold medal for the men’s 167 ½-pound category.

The IOC said Leipold’s urine samples indicated the presence of Norandrosterone and Norethiocholanolone — precursors of nandrolone — in concentrations 10 times higher than the maximum permitted under IOC rules.

Leipold Maintains Innocence

Leipold, the first German wrestler to ever test positive at the Olympics, appeared last week at a hearing of the IOC medical commission, which was investigating two positive drug cases in wrestling from the final weekend of the Sydney Games. Following the hearing, the medical commission recommended that Leipold be stripped of his medal.

Leipold maintains his innocence, saying he has no idea how he could have tested positive for nandrolone, an anabolic steroid which has produced a rash of drug scandals around the world over the last two years.

“It’s not the kind of drug you take for wrestling,” he said following his hearing last week. “I don’t wrestle with power but with tactic and technique.

“There are a lot of competitors, sportsmen, who have this problem. Nobody know what happens, what has nandrolone in it.”

Leipold said he was tested at the end of August and came out clean that time. He is the third athlete from the Sydney Olympics to lose a gold medal for a doping offense.

The IOC executive committee also decided to officially exclude Mongolian wrestler Oyunbileg Purevbaatar, who was found to have used the diuretic furosemide after finishing fifth in the 127 ¾-pound class.

The two positive results were confirmed the day after the games ended.

Fifth Olympian to Lose Medal

The IOC medical commission usually judges drug cases within a few days, but it delayed action because the athletes had already left and were not available for a hearing.

The IOC said it had not yet decided about a new medal ceremony for Slay.

Leipold is the fifth athlete from the Sydney Olympics to be stripped of a medal for a doping offense, the third to lose gold.

Romanian gymnast Andreea Raducan lost her all-around gold after testing positive for pseudoephedrine, apparently from cold pills.

Bulgarian weightlifter Izabela Dragneva had her gold in the 105-pound class taken away after her urine sample showed traces of furosemide. That gold was given to another American, Tara Nott of Colorado Springs, Colo., who became the first weightlifter from the United States to win a gold in 40 years.

Two men’s Bulgarian weightlifters lost silver and bronze medals after testing positive for furosemide, and an Armenian weightlifter was stripped of a bronze for nandrolone.

The two latest wrestling cases brought to 11 the number of positive tests reported by the IOC during the Sydney Games — nine from in-competition drug controls and two from out-of-competition screening.

The 11 positives are the most at an Olympics since 12 were recorded at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.