NEWS

Thanou suing IOC over 2000 gold

A lawyer representing Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou said he planned to sue the International Olympic Committee for failing to hand her a 2000 Olympic gold medal won by disgraced US athlete Marion Jones. Thanou’s lawyer Gregory Ioannidis told The Associated Press yesterday that he had written to the IOC to announce his intention to take the sporting body to court unless it handed over the medal or started negotiations about the issue with him. The letter to the IOC marks the formal start of his legal proceedings, he said. «The situation is embarrassing for the Olympic movement,» Ioannidis said. «I think that what they are doing is quite discriminatory.» Thanou, 33, won the silver medal in the 100 meters at the Sydney Olympics, finishing second behind Marion Jones. Jones was later stripped of that gold medal after she confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs. But the IOC has not yet decided whether to hand the medal to Thanou, who was later involved in a doping scandal. The Greek runner served a two-year competition ban after missing a doping test on the eve of the Athens Olympics in 2004. She and fellow Greek runner Costas Kenteris claimed they were involved in a motorcycle accident on the day they missed the tests. Ioannidis said the IOC had ignored his repeated requests to discuss the medal issue. The IOC has put off any decision on reallocating medals until later this year. Thanou returned to international competition in 2007 and has qualified for the Beijing Games. She has been issued accreditation for the Games but an IOC disciplinary committee will meet in Beijing today to review her eligibility. A ruling will eventually be made by the IOC executive board. The first heats for the women’s 100 meters are set for August 16. Ioannidis did not say whether he would accept an invitation to attend the hearing, arguing that he first required to be formally notified about the reasons for the meeting. (AP)