Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Olympics [Print without images]

Friday, January 29, 2010
Relay team member suspended 4 years

Associated Press

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A member of the 1,600-meter gold-medal relay team at the Athens Olympics has accepted a four-year suspension and disqualification of her results for doping.

Crystal Cox, who ran in the preliminaries for the American team led by Sanya Richards, admitted to using anabolic steroids and agreed to the penalty Friday, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said.

She almost certainly will have her gold medal stripped, while the consequences for her teammates aren't yet known. Richards ran the final along with Dee Dee Trotter, Monique Henderson and Monique Hennegan. Moushaumi Robinson joined Cox in the preliminary heat.

Russia finished second in the 2004 relay and Jamaica finished third.

Marion Jones' relay teammates from the Sydney Games lost their medals after Jones admitted to doping, but they're fighting to have them restored.

A relay gold medalist from the same year, Jerome Young, was stripped of his medal for doping, but a move to strip the entire team was rejected. Young only ran in the preliminary for the 1,600-meter team.

USADA chief executive officer Travis Tygart said he didn't know how the Cox case would affect her teammates.

"You've got to give her credit for accepting responsibility," he said. "But hopefully this sends a strong message that if you're going to succumb to the temptation, you have to remember the terrible position you're putting your teammates in."

The Cox admission came after an investigation that was triggered by information from the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative case.

Cox, who appeared on the TV show "Survivor: Gabon," is suspended through January 2014, though the biggest penalty will be the forfeiture of results from 2001 to 2004, the time she admitted using anabolic steroids.

USA Track and Field spokeswoman Jill Geer said the federation would respect whatever decision the International Olympic Committee makes about the remaining medals.

"Unfortunately, when one athlete cheats, all the other athletes lose out, whether it's their teammates or their competitors," Geer said. "They're all cheated out of something."