Wed, Oct 10, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Jones stripped of medals, asked to repay prize money

AFP , LOS ANGELES

Disgraced US sprinter Marion Jones has been stripped of her gold medals from the 2000 Olympics and asked to repay more than US$100,000 in prize money and bonuses, the US Olympic Committee (USOC) said on Monday.

Jones, who admitted in a US court last week to using performance-enhancing drugs, has returned the three gold and two bronze medals she won in Sydney, USOC chief executive Jim Scherr said.

"She relinquished this afternoon the medals that were won unfairly at the Sydney Games," Scherr said.

"She has taken the right step and worked quickly and voluntarily returned the medals and that is a start. I think there is still a long ways to go," he said. "They [medals] are in the possession of the USOC and will be returned to the IOC so they can be awarded to the appropriate winners at the Olympic Games."

The 31-year-old US athlete pled guilty on Friday to lying to federal investigators and USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth said the next step would be for her to hand back the Olympic medals.

Scherr said Jones would also have to forfeit all her competition results since Sept. 1, 2000.

"We also will go after prize bonuses and it is in excess of US$100,000," Scherr said. "We will ask her to make restitution for any money she received from the USOC."

Jones was also slapped with a two-year competition ban by the US Anti-doping Agency (USADA) on Monday, but she had already announced her retirement on Friday.

Jones was unavailable for comment on Monday.

"She's not going to comment on the matter while it's pending in court, but the medals were returned today," Jones' New York lawyer Henry DePippo told the US media.

Jones, who won the 100m and 200m in addition to taking third in the long jump, was part of the winning 4x400 team and the third-place 4x100 team in Australia.

Ueberroth said they are also asking Jones' relay teammates to turn over their medals from 2000 as well.

"Basically it is unfortunate. But your results involved cheating so you are not entitled to the medals," Ueberroth said.

Some of the other US athletes who are being asked to return their relay medals include Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Nanceen Perry, Jearl Miles-Clark, Monique Hennagan and LaTasha Colander-Richardson.

"Our opinion is that something was won unfairly and it has completely tarnished the relay events," Scherr said.

The Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou is in line to receive one of the golds because she finished second behind Jones in the Sydney 100m.

Thanou's situation poses another problem for the IOC as she was given a two-year ban for allegedly faking a motorbike crash to cover up missing a drug test during the 2004 Summer Games.

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