IOC reallocates Jones' medals

Updated: December 9, 2009, 5:07 PM ET
Associated Press

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- It's time to rewrite the Olympic record books: There was no gold medal winner in the women's 100 meters at the 2000 Sydney Games.

The International Olympic Committee on Wednesday reallocated two individual medals stripped from Marion Jones for doping, but in an unprecedented move withheld her 100-meter prize from Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou because of her "disgraceful" behavior in evading drug tests at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Jonesl
Jones

The decision means the first two runners across the line in Sydney have both been denied the winner's medal for doping violations, and the gold in sprinting's marquee event will remain without an owner -- believed to be a first in the 113-year history of the modern Olympics.

"The IOC feels we have a strong moral and a good legal case for that," spokesman Mark Adams said. "We are not legally bound to give medals. This is a case of taking no action. We have decided not to give her [Thanou] an honor that we don't think she deserves."

While the IOC executive board awarded Jones' gold in the 200 meters and bronze in the long jump to the next place finishers, it refused Thanou the 100 gold because of her involvement in a drug scandal at the Athens Games.

"It was disgraceful behavior by her and this is a unique situation," Adams said.

Thanou never tested positive and was not linked to doping in Sydney, but was accused along with fellow Greek sprinter Kostas Kenteris of dodging drug-testers in Athens and faking a motorcycle crash as a cover-up.

The actual awarding of a gold medal is not a right. ... Therefore, in this case it will not happen. It's felt that by [Thanou's] conduct she didn't deserve to be honored with this recognition.

-- IOC spokesman Mark Adams

While the race results and rankings are up to the International Association of Athletics Federations, the IOC controls who gets Olympic medals.

"The actual awarding of a gold medal is not a right," Adams said. "Therefore, in this case it will not happen. It's felt that by her conduct she didn't deserve to be honored with this recognition."

Adams said it's believed to be the first time the IOC has decided not to award a gold medal.

The IAAF deleted Jones' name from its list of Sydney results on Wednesday, but did not immediately move other athletes into her medal spots.

Thanou's lawyers have indicated they could sue or appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if she isn't awarded the gold.

Thanou and Kenteris missed drug tests on the eve of the Athens opening ceremony, said they were injured in a motorcycle accident and spent several days in a hospital. They pulled out of the games and were later banned for two years by the IAAF.

Thanou and Kenteris -- the men's 200-meter winner in Sydney -- are still awaiting trial in Greece on misdemeanor charges of staging the crash.

"You must remember the circumstances surrounding Thanou in 2004," Adams said. "She disgraced herself and the Olympic movement by avoiding three doping tests and, according to Greek authorities, she faked a motorcycle accident ... and she admitted anti-doping rules violations when she accepted a two-year ban from the IAAF."

The IOC barred Thanou from last year's Beijing Games, saying she caused a "scandalous saga" in Athens that brought the Olympics into disrepute.

Tanya Lawrence of Jamaica, who finished third in the 100 in Sydney, moved up to second and became the duplicate silver medalist with Thanou. Merlene Ottey, who competed for Jamaica but is now a Slovenian citizen, went from fourth to third and will get her sixth career bronze medal to go with two silvers in seven Olympics.

Pauline Davis-Thompson of the Bahamas was promoted from silver to gold in the 200, with Sri Lanka's Susanthika Jayasinghe moving up from bronze to silver and Jamaica's Beverly McDonald going from fourth to third.

Russia's Tatyana Kotova was upgraded from fourth to bronze in the long jump.

Jones, who had long denied doping, admitted in 2007 that she used steroids at the time of the Sydney Games -- where she became the first woman to win five medals at a single Olympics. She served a six-month prison sentence last year for lying about doping and her role in a check-fraud scam.

The IOC stripped Jones of her five medals, which also included gold in the 4x400 relay and bronze in the 4x100 relay, in December 2007, but put off any decision on redistributing the medals.

Still undecided is the fate of the medals held by Jones' relay teammates.

The IOC stripped those medals in April 2008, but the relay runners appealed to CAS, arguing it was wrong to punish them for Jones' violations. CAS is due to release its verdict by Dec. 18, and the IOC will wait until then before making a decision.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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