Arron 'saddened' by fans' backing for Marion Jones

Updated: August 3, 2006, 7:56 AM ET
Reuters

PARIS, Aug 3 - European 100m record holder Christine Arron complained on Thursday that her arch sprinting rival Marion Jones was still receiving a warm welcome from fans after her involvement in the BALCO doping scandal.

"I find it sad when I read that people are still applauding her. They are amnesic. It's a big circus," the Frenchwoman told French sports daily L'Equipe on Thursday.

However, Arron added that she would not refuse to run alongside 30-year-old Jones who has made a successful comeback this year after returning from childbirth, injury and a defamation lawsuit she fought over doping allegations.

"I would not have the choice. By refusing I would have been the loser," Arron said.

The American sprinter Jones, who has never failed a drugs test, was scrutinised by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in the wake of the BALCO doping scandal which ended with the Californian lab's owner Victor Conte being jailed.

Jones has consistently denied cheating.

On Wednesday, Arron pulled out of next week's European championships in Gothenburg with a groin injury.

NEVER FAILED

Earlier this year, Jones settled a defamation lawsuit against nutritionist Conte.

The former Olympic sprint champion had sued Conte for $25 million in 2004 after he claimed he supplied her with banned performance-enhancing drugs.

Conte, owner of the San Francisco Bay-area BALCO sports nutrition lab, had been jailed after being found guilty of steroid distribution.

His high-profile case unveiled links between BALCO and top athletes including baseball slugger Barry Bonds, and prompted sports authorities to strengthen anti-doping rules.

Last year, Jones's former partner, former 100m world record holder Tim Montgomery, announced his retirement from athletics after receiving a two-year doping ban from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Montgomery and fellow American sprinter Chryste Gaines were each banned for two years after CAS accepted evidence the pair had taken the steroid THG (tetrahydrogestrinone), the product at the centre of the BALCO scandal.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index