Jones relinquishes five medals in steroids scandal

Her reputation is gone and now so are Marion Jones’ Olympic medals.

Jones gave back the five medals she won at the Sydney Olympics on Monday and agreed to forfeit all other results dating back to Sept. 1, 2000, further punishment for her admission that she was a drug cheat.

The three gold medals and two bronzes were turned over to U.S. Olympic Committee and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency officials at her attorneys’ office in Austin, Texas. They are en route to USOC headquarters in Colorado Springs, and the USOC will return them to the International Olympic Committee.

“We’ve done what we can,” said Jim Scherr, the USOC’s chief executive officer. “We caught the person who was not clean. We’ve got the medals in our possession, and we will return them to IOC.”

Jones won golds in the 100 and 200 meters, as well as the 1,600 relay. She won bronzes in the 400 relay and the long jump. It will be up to the IOC to decide what to do with the medals and whether to vacate Jones’ results from Sydney — which could cost her relay teammates medals, too.

Scherr and USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth both said they would support the IOC nullifying the relay results, and encouraged the other Americans to give back their medals.

Jearl Miles-Clark, Monique Hennagan, Tasha Colander-Richardson and Andrea Anderson all won golds as part of the 1,600-meter relay. Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Nanceen Perry and Passion Richardson were on the 400-meter relay team.

Both Edwards and Gaines have served doping bans since the 2000 Olympics.

“It’s our opinion when any sporting event is won unfairly, it’s completely tarnished and should be returned. The relay events were won unfairly,” Ueberroth said. “It’s very unfortunate, but your result involved cheating, so the result is unfair to the other athletes of the world.”

Jones pleaded guilty Friday to lying to federal investigators about using steroids, saying she’d taken designer steroid “the clear” from September 2000 to July 2001. “The clear” has been linked to BALCO, the lab at the center of the steroids scandal in professional sports.

After Friday’s court hearing, Jones announced her retirement, but Monday, she accepted a two-year ban and agreed to forfeit any results dating back to Sept. 1, 2000.

Her 100-meter win and long jump bronze medal at the 1999 world championships will stand.

No one answered the door Monday at Jones’ house in Austin, Texas.

If the IOC does vacate Jones’ results, the standings likely will be readjusted, with the second-place finisher moving up to gold, third to silver and fourth to bronze.

Jamaica won silver in the 1,600 relay, and France was fourth in the 400. Pauline Davis-Thompson of the Bahamas was the silver medalist in the 200 meters, and Tatiana Kotova of Russia was fourth in the long jump.

The silver medalist in the 100 meters in Sydney was Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou — at the center of a major doping scandal at the Athens Olympics. She and fellow Greek runner Kostas Kenteris failed to show up for drug tests on the eve of the games, claimed they were injured in a motorcycle accident and eventually pulled out. Both later were suspended for two years.

“Obviously we’re concerned about a level playing field all the time. But we have no jurisdiction or nothing to say about that,” Ueberroth said. “We have a responsibility to compete fairly. That’s our system, and that’s the way we’re going to live.”

Ueberroth also said the USOC board had written letters of apology to 205 national Olympic committees, as well as to the people of Australia. As part of those apologies, Ueberroth said the USOC is pledging that it will bring a clean team to next summer’s Beijing Olympics.

“There’s never any absolute guarantees, but we’re taking steps to see that will happen,” Ueberroth said.

Jones stands to lose still more. The International Association of Athletics Federations can strip athletes of results and medals after notification of a doping violation.

IAAF rules also allow for athletes busted for doping to be asked to pay back prize money and appearance fees, and Scherr said the USOC plans to go after Jones for any prize money that it awarded her.

British sprinter Dwain Chambers, who admitted using the clear, had to pay back a reported $230,615 before he was allowed to return to competition after a two-year ban.

Jones would have earned millions in prizes, bonuses and fees from meets all over the world, including a share of the $1 million Golden League jackpot in 2001 and 2002.

Jones had been dogged by suspicions and doping allegations for years, angrily denying all of them. On Friday, though, she told a federal judge that then-coach Trevor Graham gave her a substance that he said was flaxseed oil but was actually “the clear.”

“By November 2003, I realized he was giving me performance-enhancing drugs,” Jones said Friday.

AP Sports Writers Stephen Wilson in London and Rachel Cohen in New York, and Associated Press Writer April Castro in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.

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