sharing the Olympic spirit

Rogge: Only 'clean' athletes will get Marion Jones' medals
Updated: 2007-11-08 10:31


LONDON - Only "clean" athletes will be upgraded to get the Olympic medals relinquished by Marion Jones following her doping confession, International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said Wednesday.

Rogge's statement means that Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou - at the center of her own drug scandal at the 2004 Athens Games - may not receive the 100-meter gold medal that Jones won at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

"This is not going to be an automatic upgrade. ... Every potential upgraded athlete will be scrutinized on his or her merits," Rogge said in a conference call. "We want to upgrade athletes if we are absolutely sure that they are clean. Every case will be examined."

Jones, who won three gold medals and two bronze in Sydney, confessed last month to using performance-enhancing drugs before the 2000 Olympics.

The medals were returned to the IOC, which is awaiting recommendations from track and field's governing body, the IAAF, to disqualify Jones before stripping her of her titles.

Jones won golds in the 100 meters, 200 and the 1,600 relay in Sydney, as well as bronzes in the 400 relay and long jump.

Under standard procedures, the medal standings are adjusted so the silver medalist moves up to gold if the winner is disqualified for doping or other reasons. All of the other finishers also would move up a spot.

However, the IOC and IAAF are in the awkward position of dealing with the possibility of Thanou being bumped up from silver to gold in the 100.

Thanou and fellow Greek runner Kostas Kenteris failed to show up for drug tests on the eve of the Athens Olympics, claimed they were injured in a motorcycle accident and eventually pulled out. Both later were suspended for two years.

"We will examine the case of Thanou at the next executive board meeting (in December), like we will examine potential upgrades of every athlete on its own merits," Rogge said. "Those we want to upgrade, we want to be clean."

He did not elaborate on how the IOC would determine whether the athletes were clean at the time.

Finishing behind Jones and Thanou in the 100 was Tanya Lawrence, with fellow Jamaican Merlene Ottey in fourth.

Pauline Davis-Thompson of the Bahamas won the silver behind Jones in the 200, with Sri Lanka's Susanthika Jayasinghe third and Jamaica's Beverly McDonald fourth.

Rogge said the IOC always carries out doping tests on the fourth and fifth-place finishers, as well as the three medal winners and three others at random. The IOC stores Olympic drug samples for eight years.

The IOC is also waiting for a recommendation from the IAAF on removing the medals from Jones' American relay teammates. Jamaica finished second in the 1,600-meter relay, with Russia third and Nigeria fourth. France was fourth behind the United States in the 400 relay.

"I expect the IAAF to send us a letter in the near future saying Marion Jones will be disqualified," Rogge said. "They will also have to advise us what they think about the relays and what they think of upgrading the athletes. Once we have that advice, it is up to the IOC to take the final decision."

The ruling could come at the December 10-12 board meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland. If not, the next IOC board meeting is in April in Beijing.

Rogge spoke on a wide range of issues going into next week's world doping conference in Madrid, Spain, where an updated code of rules and sanctions will be adopted and a successor to World Anti-Doping Agency head Dick Pound elected.

Rogge said he will plead for an "acceleration" by sports bodies and governments of full compliance and implementation of global anti-doping rules.

Some federations haven't applied the regulations yet, mainly due to "administrative" delays, while only 70 of 190 governments have signed up to the UNESCO treaty on doping, Rogge said.

Rogge offered a cautious endorsement to the man lined up to become the new WADA president, former Australian finance minister John Fahey. He's the only candidate after former French sports minister Jean-Francois Lamour pulled out of the running last month and attacked WADA for allowing a late challenger into the race.

While conceding that the handover "could have been a bit more orderly," Rogge said the Olympic movement should back Fahey in the face of reluctance by some Europeans.

"John Fahey deserves to have the time to show his credentials," he said. "He's an intelligent man, he's new to the sports movement and fight against doping. He deserves the chance to show his capacities and will be judged on how he performs."

Lamour has proposed creating a European anti-doping agency, but Rogge said it was meant as a political and consultative body and would not rival what WADA is doing.

Rogge applauded cycling's governing body, the UCI, for planning to introduce a "passport" program to monitor riders' biological profiles for signs of possible doping.

"I think this is a breakthrough, and expect, with experience, this will and should be adopted by other federations," he said.

Rogge also said he will urge Spanish authorities to release the full documents from Operation Puerto, the doping investigation which has implicated dozens of cyclists. A Spanish judge has refused to allow the files to be used by sports bodies to punish athletes cited in the case.

"We want this information to be given to all the respective international bodies that need to have them for disciplinary reasons," Rogge said.

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