Nesta Carter, who ran with Bolt in the winning 4x100m relay team in the games nine years ago, tested positive for the prohibited substance methylhexaneamine, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Wednesday.
This means that the entire Jamaican relay team must return their medals.
Trinidad and Tobago will be promoted to gold, Japan move up to silver and fourth-placed Brazil will be awarded bronze, subject to any further results from the IOC anti-doping retesting programme, Reuters reported.
The relay title in Beijing completed the first of Bolt’s three gold medal sweeps in the 100, 200 and relay at three straight Olympics.
But the loss of the relay gold means Bolt no longer holds the unprecedented “triple, triple”.
The IOC’s ruling states that Carter noted he was taking supplements in 2008 “advised in this respect by his coach, Mr. Stephen Francis.”
The Associated Press reported that the verdict said: “The athlete explained that he had given several samples for doping controls whilst he was taking Cell Tech and Nitro Tech before the 2008 Olympic Games and he had never tested positive for a prohibited substance.
“He therefore did not believe that these supplements could contain prohibited substances. He did not understand how methylhexaneamine could have been found in 2016.”
Though methylhexaneamine was not specifically named on the 2008 list of prohibited substances, it “fell within the scope of the general prohibition of stimulants having a similar chemical structure or similar biological effect as the listed stimulants,” the three-member IOC panel wrote.
Carter can appeal the sanction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. However, the IOC panel already anticipated one challenge in its written verdict.
“The Court of Arbitration for Sport (”CAS”) has confirmed that the presence or use of substances falling within the scope of generic definitions of the prohibited list, can be used as a basis of establishing anti-doping rules violations,” the verdict said.