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Tuesday, October 9, 2007
IOC, track officials acting now to erase all things Jones

Associated Press

LONDON -- Even though she's handed back her Olympic medals, the shaming of Marion Jones isn't over yet.

International Olympic and track and field officials are prepared to wipe her name officially from the record books, strip her of her world championship medals, pursue her for prize money and appearance fees and possibly ban her from future Olympics in any capacity.

The IOC, which opened an investigation into Jones after she was linked to the BALCO steroids scandal in 2004, can act now that she has confessed and surrendered the medals.

"We now need to have the official process of disqualification and maybe other measures like non-eligibility for future games and so on," IOC vice president Thomas Bach, a German lawyer who leads the IOC's three-man disciplinary commission on the Jones case, told The Associated Press.

After long denying she ever had used performance-enhancing drugs, Jones admitted Friday that she'd taken the designer steroid "the clear" from September 2000 to July 2001. On Monday, she returned her five Sydney Olympic medals.

Bach's panel will make recommendations to the ruling IOC executive board, which next meets in December in Lausanne, Switzerland. IOC president Jacques Rogge could speed up the process by ordering a decision by postal vote before then.

Bach said the IOC also will consider whether Jones "should be eligible to apply for any type of accreditation for Beijing or beyond." That could mean that she would be banned from attending future Olympics -- possibly for life -- as a coach, media representative or any other official capacity.

The IOC probe also could spread wider to include other Olympic athletes, coaches or officials implicated in the BALCO case.

"The disciplinary commission is studying the whole BALCO file," Bach said. "Now we hope to finally get all the available documents, so that we can see whether maybe other people were involved and whether the Olympic Games are affected."

The International Association of Athletics Federations has authority over results at the Olympics, while the IOC controls the medals.

Jones won golds in the 100 meters, 200 meters and the 1,600 relay in Sydney, as well as bronzes in the 400 relay and long jump.

The IOC and IAAF are in the awkward position of seeing disgraced Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou inherit Jones' 100-meter gold medal from Sydney. Thanou finished second in the race.

At the center of a major doping scandal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, Thanou and fellow Greek runner Kostas Kenteris failed to show up for drug tests on the eve of the games, claimed they were injured in a motorcycle accident and eventually pulled out. Both later were suspended for two years.

Under standard procedures, the medal standings are adjusted so the silver medalist moves up to gold if the winner is disqualified for doping or other reasons. All of the other finishers also would move up a spot.

"I will not speculate on the outcome, but the general rule is the second-place finisher moves up," Bach said.

The IOC would need evidence or an admission that Thanou was doping at the time of the Sydney Games to keep her from getting the gold. Some have suggested leaving the gold medal position vacant.

"All we can say to the IOC is, 'Here are the revised results,' " IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said. "As of today, Thanou finished second. Standard practice says she should be moved up."

The IOC and IAAF also must consider whether Jones' relay teammates should lose their Sydney medals.

USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth said Monday the relays were tainted because of Jones' presence and all the medals should be returned.

"The relay will be decided according to IAAF rules," Bach said.

Davies said those rules clearly state that all members of a relay team should be disqualified. However, it's not clear whether that rule was in force at the time of the Sydney Games.

Jearl Miles-Clark, Monique Hennagan, Tasha Colander-Richardson and Andrea Anderson all won golds as part of the 1,600-meter relay team. Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Nanceen Perry and Passion Richardson were on the 400-meter relay team. Both Edwards and Gaines have served doping bans since the 2000 Olympics.

But medals aren't the only prizes that will be returned.

IAAF regulations also allow for athletes busted for doping to be asked to pay back prize money and appearance fees.

Jones would have earned millions in prizes, bonuses and fees from meets all over the world, including a share of the $1 million Golden League jackpot in 2001 and 2002.

"The rule is there, and it's clear," Davies said. "You forfeit prize and appearance money. We will try to recover it, but I can't say whether we will actually recover it."