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Archive for Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Jones returns five medals

Sprinter gives up three gold, two bronze

October 9, 2007

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— Her reputation is gone, and now so are Marion Jones' Olympic medals.

Jones gave back the five medals she won at the Sydney Olympics on Monday and agreed to forfeit all other results dating back to Sept. 1, 2000, further punishment for her admission that she was a drug cheat.

The three gold medals and two bronzes were turned over by her attorneys in Austin, Texas. They are en route to U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters in Colorado Springs, and the USOC will return them to the International Olympic Committee.

"We've done what we can," said Jim Scherr, the USOC's chief executive officer. "We caught the person who was not clean. We've got the medals in our possession, and we will return them to IOC."

Fielding a clean team is a priority for a country trying to improve its image in the Olympic movement - not to mention win the 2016 Games - and USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth pledged Monday that the U.S. team at next summer's Beijing Olympics would be drug-free.

But when American standouts like Jones or Athens gold medalist Justin Gatlin get busted, it doesn't help the cause. Gatlin is facing a ban of up to eight years after testing positive for testosterone and other steroids in April 2006 - one month before tying the then 100-meter world record.

"Even though it is a negative going back, this will be viewed as positive in our commitment to fielding a clean team," Scherr said of Jones' punishment.

After long denying she ever had used performance-enhancing drugs, Jones admitted Friday that she'd taken the designer steroid "the clear" from September 2000 to July 2001. "The clear" has been linked to BALCO, the lab at the center of the steroids scandal in professional sports.

It will be up to the IOC to decide what to do with Jones' medals. She won golds in the 100 meters, 200 meters and the 1,600 relay, and bronzes in the 400 relay and long jump. Though there is precedent for punishing only one member of a relay, Scherr and Ueberroth encouraged the other Americans to return their medals, too.

Jearl Miles-Clark, Monique Hennagan, Tasha Colander-Richardson and Andrea Anderson all won golds as part of the 1,600 relay. Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Nanceen Perry and Passion Richardson were on the 400-meter relay team.

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