Fri, Sep 08, 2006 - Page 24 News List

Jones celebrates as 'B' sample results come back negative

AGENCIES , RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA AND NEW YORK

Former triple Olympic champion Marion Jones was cleared of doping on Wednesday after her `B' sample tested negative for the banned blood-boosting drug EPO.

Jones's initial sample had tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) at the US championships in Indianapolis in June. The 30-year-old could have faced a two-year ban from the sport had the second sample tested positive.

"Marion Jones was informed by the USADA [US Anti-Doping Agency] today that her `B' sample urine test was negative. She has been cleared of doping allegations," Jones' attorneys Howard Jacobs and Rich Nichols said in a statement.

USADA general counsel Travis Tygart could not immediately be reached for comment.

"I am absolutely ecstatic," Jones said in a statement released by her lawyers. "I have always maintained that I have never ever taken performance enhancing drugs, and I am pleased that a scientific process has now demonstrated that fact."

Jones could conceivably run in the IAAF World Cup of Athletics in Athens starting on Sept. 16. Jones' coach Steve Riddick said he would prepare her to run in the Athens meeting if she wanted to compete.

Jones's attorney Jacobs said he was not surprised with the outcome.

"Having looked at the `A' sample and had it reviewed by experts, it was questionable whether the `A' sample should have been called positive in the first place," Jacobs said in a telephone interview.

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