Wed, Aug 23, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Marion Jones expresses `shock'

NOT SAYING MUCH The athlete expressed surprise after testing positive for EPO, but left most of the speaking to her lawyer, who is well-versed in such matters

AP , PHOENIX, ARIZONA

Marion Jones celebrates as she crosses the finish line to win the gold medal in the 100m at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, on Sept. 23, 2000. The five-time Olympic medalist failed an initial drug test at the US championships in June.

PHOTO: AP

Marion Jones on Monday broke her silence following her positive doping test for the synthetic hormone EPO, saying she was shocked and wants the second sample examined quickly.

The five-time Olympic medalist and four-time world champion released a statement through her new attorney, Howard Jacobs, who has represented many athletes in doping cases, including Jones' former boyfriend Tim Montgomery, the father of her child.

`Shocked'

"I was shocked when I was informed about the positive `A' sample," she said. "I have requested that the testing of my `B' sample be expedited and done as soon as possible."

"Only my lawyers have the authority to speak on my behalf in this matter, and I will have no further comment until the results of the `B' sample are released," Jones added.

In a telephone interview, Jacobs said he has not discussed with Jones how the positive test might have come about. He also noted the results were supposed to remain private until the `B' sample was tested but were improperly leaked to the media.

Jacobs also represents Tour de France champion Floyd Landis, who tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone during the Tour.

Jones' positive test came on June 23 at the US Outdoor Track & Field Championships, where she won the 100m, her 14th national title but first since 2002.

Long dogged by doping suspicions, Jones has vehemently denied using performance-enhancing substances. She withdrew from a meet in Zurich, Switzerland, on Friday, shortly before the positive test came to light.

Dick Pound

Dick Pound, chairman of the World Anti-Doping Association, said tests for EPO have improved considerably recently.

"Up until 2000, we didn't even have a test, much less a reliable one," he said.

Pound said he knows the US Anti-Doping Agency has closely watched Jones because of her ties to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO).

"If it's all wrong it's really unfortunate," Pound said of the suspicion surrounding Jones, "but people have a tendency to judge you by the company you keep, and there's clearly been ongoing discussions with USADA which have never been satisfactorily resolved. All that we hear is that the BALCO affair is not over."

Long a critic of how the US athletics federation has handled doping cases, Pound said he believes things have improved and gave credit to Peter Ueberroth, chairman of the US Olympic Committee (USOC).

"He's prepared to step up and say this is not what the United States of America stands for," Pound said, adding he supports the USOC's decision to ban coach Trevor Graham from its training facilities.

Graham is Jones' former coach and the coach of Justin Gatlin, the 100m co-world record holder and Olympic gold medalist who tested positive for a banned substance in April. Several athletes who trained with Graham have tested positive over the years. The coach has also acknowledged that he was the one who sent a vial of the designer steroid THG to USADA, telling investigators it was the substance of choice for cheating athletes at the time.

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