Jones’ relay teammates stripped of medals

Beijing, April 10:

Marion Jones’ former relay teammates paid the price on Thursday for her doping offenses, losing their medals from the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board disqualified and stripped the medals from the athletes who won gold with Jones in the 1,600m relay and bronze in the 400m relay.

IOC legal adviser Francois Carrard, who assisted the disciplinary panel investigating the case, said the US Olympic Committee has been ordered to return the medals. The decision 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 metres, 200 and 1,600 relay, and bronze in the long jump and 400 relay. Jones’ teammates on the 1,600m 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 had previously refused to give up their medals, saying it would be wrong to punish them for Jones’ violations. They have hired a US lawyer to defend their case, which could wind up in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Jones “was part of a team and she competed in the finals,” IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said. “Based on the recommendations of the disciplinary commission, the entire team was disqualified.” The IOC had put off any decision on reallocating the medals, pending more information from the BALCO steroid investigation in the United States.

A reshuffling of the medals could affect the medal results of more than three dozen other athletes. The IOC wants to know whether any other Sydney athletes are implicated in the BALCO files. The next IOC board meeting takes place in Athens in June, followed by another meeting in Beijing on the eve of the August 8-24 Olympics.