Banned sprinter may get gold

PARIS (AFP) – Sprinter Katerina Thanou, involved in a doping controversy ahead of the Athens Olympics in 2004, could retrospectively take the 100-meter women’s gold medal for the Sydney 2000 Olympics after the winner, American sprinter Marion Jones, admitted to doping. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said yesterday it is awaiting the decision of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) before deciding whether to strip Jones of her five Sydney 2000 Olympic medals. «If the disciplinary body of the IAAF finds that she was not eligible for Sydney, then the disciplinary commission of the IOC will take up the case,» said an IOC spokesman, adding the American could lose her gold medals for the 100 m, 200 m and 4×400 m and bronze in both the 4×100 m and the long jump. If Jones is stripped of her 100-meter gold medal then logically the runner-up, Thanou, should take the medal. However, Thanou and her compatriot sprinter Kostas Kenteris were at the center of a doping controversy just before the Athens Olympics which resulted in a two-year suspension after they missed three doping tests. A Greek court on September 24 deferred until next June the perjury trial of Thanou and Kenteris over the mysterious motorcycle accident which led them to miss doping tests. Last Friday, after months of denials, Jones pleaded guilty in court to lying to a federal agent about her use of banned steroids between September 2000 and July 2001. The Sydney Olympics were held on September 15. US Olympic Committee Chairman Peter Ueberroth on Friday welcomed Jones’s «overdue» confession, and called on her to return her Olympic medals without waiting for sports officials to take them away. Jones also faces being stripped by IAAF of her world championship medals comprising the 200 m gold and the 100 m silver in 2001. For this last event it is again Thanou who will benefit. The anti-doping regulations prescribe an eight-year limit after an offense for disciplinary proceeding to be launched which would be September 2008 for the Sydney Olympics.

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