Brandon Slay says his Olympic wrestling gold medal is even sweeter because he knew "the agony of defeat before the thrill of victory."
The International Olympic Committee on Monday disqualified Germany's Alexander Leipold, who had beaten Slay in the 1671/2-pound freestyle final in Sydney, for using a banned steroid.
Slay turned aside a suggestion that his victory was any less worthy because it took intervention from the IOC after he lost on the mat, 4-0.
"I do feel sorry for him. But we all have choices," Slay said. "He made his choice and I made my choice. I made my choice to be clean and he made his choice to be dirty. I believe God was watching out for me. I believe he watches out for all of us."
Slay said that even though he first learned of Leipold's likely disqualification last week, it had "been frustrating waiting so long."
The IOC executive committee said it had ordered the German Olympic Committee to "withdraw and return" Leipold's gold medal. South Korea's Moon Eui Jae will move up from the bronze medal to silver, while Turkey's Adem Bereket will go from fourth to third.