Marion Jones gives back her Sydney Olympic medals, accepts two-year ban
Oct 09: Former track and field star Marion Jones, who confessed on Friday in the federal court that she had taken performance-enhancing drugs during the 2000 Sydney Olympics, handed over her five medals (Three gold and two bronze) to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) on Monday.
Jones admitted to U.S. court after denying for many years that she had used the banned substance known as the "clear" from September 2000 to July 2001 violating International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and USADA rules.
The 31-year old Jones pleaded guilty on two charges levied against her, one of providing false statements to federal investigators and second for using steroids.
The ban laid down on her will begin on Monday after she accepted the suspension, the USADA said.
She has also been disqualified from all competitive events from September 1, 2000 onwards, and must surrender all medals, results, points and prizes from that date, the USADA said.
Jim Scherr, chief executive of the U.S.O.C believed that the sprinter's 2001 world championships medals -- gold in the 200 meters and silver in the 100 meters should also be forfeited, as it was won in the same period.
The USOC will also request her to return of more than $100,000 funds, which she had earned during that period, Scherr added.
A USADA representative was sent to Austin, Tex., where Jones lives, to retrieve the medals. The medals were on the way to the agency’s office in Colorado Springs till last night.
USADA said in a news release on Monday that in addition to returning the three gold and two bronze medals that she won, Jones also accepted a two-year suspension. USADA said in its release that the two-year sanction “also requires disqualification of all her competitive results obtained on and subsequent to Sept. 1,2000, and forfeiture of all medals, results, points and prizes.”
Under the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), an athlete should be sanctioned for a doping offense and cannot simply opt for retirement.
The United States Olympic Committee said that Jones’s medals would be returned to the organisation and they will further send them to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Ironically one of the Jones’s gold medals came in the 4x400-meter relay and her teammates in that relay race would probably have to return their medals because the race had been won unfairly. Peter Ueberroth, chairman of the U.S.O.C. hoped that they would return it voluntarily before the I.O.C. takes some hard decisions.
"Basically it is unfortunate. But your results involved cheating so you are not entitled to the medals," Uebberroth said.
The American athletes who are being asked to hand over their relay medals include, Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Nanceen Perry, Jearl Miles-Clark, Monique Hennagan and LaTasha Colander-Richardson.
On the other hand, Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou will be lucky to receive one of the gold, as she finished second behind Jones in the 100 metres of Sydney Olympics.
But Thanou's was given a two-year ban by IOC for allegedly faking a motorbike crash to cover up missing a drug test during the 2004 Olympics. Now it is up to IOC to decide on this issue.
With her performance in 2000, Jones became the first woman to win five medals in track and field at the same Olympics. Jones won gold in the 100 and 200 meters and the 4x400 relay, and bronze in the long jump and the 4x100.
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