Thursday, April 10, 2008

IOC strips medals from Marion Jones’ relay teammates at 2000

AP Sports Writer

BEIJING — Marion Jones gave up her Olympic medals. Her
relay teammates aren’t quite as willing.

Jones’ former relay teammates paid for her doping offenses
Thursday, losing their medals from the 2000 Sydney Olympics as the
International Olympic Committee stripped them from athletes who won
gold with Jones in the 1,600-meter relay and bronze in the 400

“The decision was based on the fact that they were part of a
team, that Marion Jones was disqualified from the Sydney Games due
to her own admission that she was doping during those games,” said
IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies, who announced the decision. “She
was part of a team and she competed with them in the finals.”

Jones’ teammates on the 1,600 squad were Jearl-Miles Clark,
Monique Hennagan, LaTasha Colander-Richardson and Andrea
Anderson. The 400-relay squad also had Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Nanceen
Perry and Passion Richardson.

The runners have previously refused to give up their medals,
saying it would be wrong to punish them for Jones’ violations. They
have hired a U.S. lawyer to defend their case, which could wind up
in the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The IOC ruling follows the admission by Jones last year that she
was doping at the time of the Sydney Games.

She returned her five medals last year and the IOC formally
stripped her of the results in December. Jones won gold in the 100
meters, 200 and 1,600 relay, and bronze in the long jump and 400

“The (IOC) decision ... illustrates just how far-reaching the
consequences of doping can be,” USOC chief executive officer Jim
Scherr said in a statement. “When an athlete makes the choice to
cheat, others end up paying the price, including teammates,
competitors and fans.

“We respect the decision of the IOC executive board, as well as
the right for the athletes who are impacted by this decision to
file an appeal with the Court of Arbitration of Sport, should they
so choose.”

The IOC put off any decision Thursday on reallocating the
medals, pending more information from the ongoing BALCO steroid
investigation in the United States.

A reshuffling of the medals could affect more than three dozen
other athletes. The IOC wants to know whether any other Sydney
athletes are implicated in the BALCO files.

Davies said the Jones’ relay case differed from that of
U.S. 400-meter runner Jerome Young, who was stripped of his gold medal
in the 1,600-meter relay from Sydney because of a doping violation
dating to 1999. He ran only in the preliminary of the relay.

The IOC had sought to strip the entire American men’s team but
the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in 2005 that there were no
rules in place at the time of the Sydney Games for a whole relay
team to be disqualified for an offense by one member.

“Marion Jones ran in the finals and she was of her own
admission doped during the Olympic Games,” Davies said. “Jerome
Young was found to be doped before the Olympic Games and should
never have competed in the first place.”

The next IOC board meeting takes place in Athens, Greece, in
June, followed by another meeting in Beijing on the eve of the
Aug. 8-24 Olympics.

Davies said there was no timetable for a decision on
redistributing medals, but noted there was an eight-year statute of
limitations. The Sydney Games finished on Oct. 1, 2000.

After denying she had ever used performance-enhancing drugs,
Jones admitted in federal court in October that she used the
designer steroid “the clear” from September 2000 to July 2001.
She began serving a six-month prison sentence last month for lying
to investigators about doping and her role in a check fraud scam.

On other doping matters, the IOC board adopted its anti-doping
rules for the Beijing Games, covering the period from the opening
of the Olympic village on July 27 to the closing ceremony on
Aug. 24.

Among new provisions, athletes will be considered guilty of a
doping violation if they are found in possession of any prohibited
substance, including marijuana. Missing two doping tests during the
games or one during that period and two in the previous 18 months
will constitute a violation. And athletes can be subjected to
no-advance notice drug tests “at any time or place” during the

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