Friday, February 15, 2002
Jones thinks decision could open doors
SALT LAKE CITY -- Roy Jones Jr. has been waiting 14 years for the kind of Olympic justice that a pair of Canadian skaters got in only four days.
Now he believes there's a chance he may not have to wait much longer.
"There's a possibility there will still be a gold medal reward for me now," Jones said Friday night. "It should have been awarded to me a long time ago."
Jones had more than just a casual interest in Friday's decision by the International Olympic Committee to give Jamie Sale and David Pelletier gold medals in pairs figure skating.
So did U.S. Olympic officials, who think the decision may give Jones a chance of finally getting the medal for winning the 156-pound boxing competition in 1988.
"It's worth bringing up," said Sandra Baldwin, the USOC president and a member of the IOC. "This is a new day and this is certainly something worth pursuing for treatment of Roy Jones the same as these kids."
Jones was the star of the 1988 Olympics for the U.S. boxing team, showing the brilliance that would eventually make him one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
He seemed assured of a gold medal after beating on the head of Park Si-hun in the final match. But three of the five judges voted against him in a decision that even embarrassed the referee.
"I can't believe they're doing this to you," referee Aldo Leoni whispered to Jones as he held the Korean's hand aloft in victory.
Jones spent almost a decade trying to get the decision overturned and his medal back. That was under a different International Olympic Commission, though, which figured it had found a way out of the mess a few years back when it awarded Jones the Olympic Order.
"I'm not bitter," Jones said. "I'm hoping maybe my influence had something to do with how these guys were treated in skating."
Jones said he believes Olympic officials are more sensitive to medal disputes because of the way his gold medal was taken from him and may be changing their ways.
"Maybe it will stop things like that from happening in the future," he said. "I'm glad to see it."
Jones has made tens of millions of dollars as a pro, but still thinks about how he was not given the gold he so easily won.
He gave his mother the silver medal, and she has kept it out of sight.
"In my heart and mind I'm still an Olympic champion," he said.