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IAAF could give Thanou Sydney win

MADRID (AFP) – Athletics’ world ruling body could be forced to pronounce controversial sprinter Katerina Thanou as the winner of the 2000 Olympics 100-meters final following Marion Jones’s admission to doping, the IAAF’s chief medical officer has said. «Legally speaking, I don’t see how the IAAF can do otherwise,» Juan Manuel Alonso told AFP. Disgraced USA star Jones has handed back the three gold and two bronze medals she won at the 2000 Olympics after recently admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs at the Sydney Games. But now the IAAF faces a dilemma over who should be pronounced the winner of that event, and more importantly who should be crowned the Olympic champion. Thanou finished second behind Jones in Sydney, but her reputation has been sullied since the controversy which surrounded her and fellow Greek sprinter Kostas Kenteris in the leadup to the Athens Olympics in 2004. Their brush with the authorities, following a claimed motorbike accident as they avoided a doping control, led to two-year suspensions after it was ruled they missed a total of three doping tests. Despite any suspicions about Thanou, Alonso believes the IAAF is legally bound to pronounce Thanou as the winner of the 100-meters final. «We could be suspicious about whether Thanou was clean in 2000, but we don’t have any proof,» he added. Alonso affirmed however that while the result from the 2000 Games falls under IAAF auspices, any decision on awarding medals or Olympic titles comes down to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Thanou may effectively be pronounced the winner of the 2000 Olympic Games 100-meters final, but the IOC may decide not to crown her Olympic champion. The IOC indicated recently it was keen to promote only «clean» athletes, whether they had tested positive or not, and said it could begin looking into the case in December. «We will examine each case during our next executive commission [December 10-12] but our priority is to promote clean athletes,» said IOC President Jacques Rogge on November 7. At the 2000 Olympics, Jones won gold in the 100, 200 and 4×400 meters, and claimed bronze in the long jump and in the 4×100 meters.