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Jones's teammates stripped of Olympic medals

11 April 2008
www.wcsn.com

By Dave Ungrady

Teammates of disgraced American Olympic champion Marion Jones paid the price for her use of banned substances when they were stripped of the relay medals they won at the 2000 Sydney Games on Thursday.

The executive board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ruled that the U.S. teams that won gold in the 4x400 meters and bronze in the 4x100 would lose their medals after Jones admitted she had used steroids in 2000.

"The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) will be asked to return the medals and certificates," IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said at a news conference.

"The IOC acknowledges that the three other athletes have paid the price for Marion Jones's guilt."

The USOC could face a battle getting the medals back. Two of the athletes affected, Chryste Gaines and Monique Hennagan, told WCSN.com last year that they would not return the medals.

"If they ask me to return it, I don't plan to return it," said Hennagan, a member of the gold-medal winning 4 x 400 meter relay team. "If it's my choice, my choice will be no. I know I have not taken anything that I should not be taking. It's very unfair."

Gaines, who won her only Olympic gold medal on the 4 x 100 meter relay team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and was part of the 4 x 100 meter relay in Sydney, echoed Hennagan's feeling. "I'm not considering giving anything back," she said. "It's not fair to us who didn't do anything."

Hennagan, reached by phone Thursday, said she wants to review the IOC's decision before making further comment. Gaines was unavailable to provide an immediate response to the decision.

Torri Edwards, a member of the 4 x 100 meter relay team in Sydney, will likely return her bronze medal if requested by the IOC, her agent, Emanuel Hudson told WCSN.com in December. "Torri follows the rules," he said. "I don't know why she would not return the medal."

Jones, the first woman to win five athletics medals, three of them gold, at a single Olympic Games, had already been stripped of her medals.

Jearl Miles-Clark, Hennagan and LaTasha Colander won the 4x400 meters with Jones while Gaines, Edwards and Nanceen Perry placed third in the 4x100 in Sydney.

In a statement released Thursday, USOC Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr said the USOC respects the IOC board's decision. "The decision...illustrates just how far-reaching the consequences of doping can be," he said. "When an athlete makes the choice to cheat, others end up paying the price, including teammates, competitors and fans.

"We respect as well as the right for the athletes who are impacted by this decision to file an appeal with the Court of Arbitration of Sport, should they so choose. The athletes find themselves in this difficult and unfortunate position because of the choice their teammate made to cheat. This situation underscores the importance of making decisions that are consistent with the ideals of fair play and clean competition."

The IOC executive board had yet to decide on how the medals that Jones and her teammates won in Sydney would be re-allocated, Davies added.



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