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Jones' teammates fundraising for medals

24 April 2008

Marion Jones' relay partners are raising money to pay legal fees in the fight to retain the 2000 Olympic medals they've been ordered to return.

Jones teamed with Jearl-Miles Clark, Monique Hennagan, LaTasha Colander-Richardson and Andrea Anderson to win gold in the 4x400-meter relay, and with Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Nanceen Perry and Passion Richardson to win the bronze in the 400.

But Jones had her medals stripped last year after she admitted to doping during the Sydney Games. Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee disqualified the other seven athletes, while conceding none of the athletes broke any rules. The runners had refused to give up their medals, saying it would be wrong to punish them for Jones' violations.

A news release sent Wednesday from the athletes' attorney, Mark Levinstein, said the athletes have until May 1 to appeal the IOC decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Hennagan said the athletes want to fight the IOC decision.

"However, the cost of fighting the IOC with all of its resources and paying for legal proceedings before the court in Switzerland is more than our combined resources," she said.

With Levinstein's help, the athletes established The Innocent Olympic Athletes' Legal Defense Fund.

The U.S. Olympic Committee offered to pay for the athletes' defense should they choose one of three attorney's the federation has agreed to provide for them, spokesman Darryl Seibel said.

He said the offer to pay for the USOC-chosen attorneys remains on the table. One of the three attorneys the USOC is willing to pay for is Maurice Suh, who represents Floyd Landis and Justin Gatlin in their pending doping cases.

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