Lawyer: Jones returns Olympic medals
Marion Jones has given up the five medals she won at the Sydney Olympics, days after admitting she used performance-enhancing drugs.
It wasn’t immediately clear where the medals are now. Jones’ lawyer, Henry DePippo, said Monday that she had relinquished them, but declined to say who had possession of them. The normal protocol would be for Jones to give them to the U.S. Olympic Committee, which then would return them to the International Olympic Committee, said Giselle Davies, IOC spokeswoman.
“The IOC wants to move forward as quickly as possible in getting the facts and sorting out all the issues from the BALCO case,” Davies said.
A call to the USOC was not immediately returned, but the group has scheduled a 7 p.m. EDT news conference. No one answered the door at Jones’ house in Austin, Texas.
She pleaded guilty Friday to lying to federal investigators about using steroids, saying she’d taken “the clear” from September 2000 to July 2001. “The clear” is the designer steroid that’s been linked to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, the lab at the center of the steroids scandal in professional sports.
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It wasn’t immediately clear what will happen next. The IOC and other sports bodies can go back eight years to strip medals and nullify results. In Jones’ case, that would include the 2000 Olympics, where she won gold in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 1,600 relay and bronze in the long jump and 400 relay.
The standings normally would be readjusted, with the second-place finisher moving up to gold, third to silver and fourth to bronze.
Pauline Davis-Thompson of the Bahamas was the silver medalist in the 200 meters, and Tatiana Kotova of Russia was fourth in the long jump. The silver medalist in the 100 meters in Sydney was Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou ” at the center of a major doping scandal at the Athens Olympics.
She and fellow Greek runner Kostas Kenteris failed to show up for drug tests on the eve of the games, claimed they were injured in a motorcycle accident and eventually pulled out. Both later were suspended for two years.
The relays could be a trickier issue, because there are more people involved. Jearl Miles-Clark, Monique Hennagan, Tasha Colander-Richardson and Andrea Anderson all won golds as part of the 1,600-meter relay. Jamaica finished second.
Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Nanceen Perry and Passion Richardson were on the 400-meter relay, which finished third ahead of France.
Jones stands to lose more than her Olympic medals, too. The International Association of Athletics Federations can strip athletes of results and medals after notification of a doping violation, and it said last week it was waiting to hear from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Jones won a gold (100 meters) and bronze (long jump) at the 1999 worlds in Seville, Spain, and two gold (200 and 400 relay) and a silver (100) at the 2001 championships in Edmonton.
IAAF rules also allow for athletes busted for doping to be asked to pay back prize money and appearance fees. British sprinter Dwain Chambers, who admitted using the clear, had to pay back a reported $230,615 before he was allowed to return to competition after a two-year ban.
It’s unclear whether this would be applied to Jones, who would have earned millions in prizes, bonuses and fees from meets all over the world, including a share of the $1 million Golden League jackpot in 2001 and 2002.
Jones had been dogged by suspicions and doping allegations for years, angrily denying all of them. On Friday, though, she told a federal judge that then-coach Trevor Graham gave her a substance that he said was flaxseed oil but was actually “the clear.”
“By November 2003, I realized he was giving me performance-enhancing drugs,” Jones said Friday.
AP Sports Writers Stephen Wilson in London and Rachel Cohen in New York, and Associated Press Writer April Castro in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.