IOC to deny Thanou 2000 Sydney gold

LONDON (AP) – International Olympic leaders are finally ready to reallocate the individual medals stripped from Marion Jones for doping – but withhold the 100-meter gold from another drug-tainted athlete, The Associated Press has learned. Nine years after the 2000 Games, the International Olympic Committee is set to redistribute some of the five medals – three gold and two bronze – that Jones won in Sydney with the aid of performance-enhancing drugs. At a two-day meeting starting tomorrow in Lausanne, Switzerland, the IOC executive board will decide to hand out Jones’s gold in the 200 meters and bronze in the long jump but not give disgraced Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou the 100-meter gold, officials with direct knowledge of the plans told the AP yesterday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision hasn’t yet been announced. While Pauline Davis-Thompson of the Bahamas is to be upgraded from silver to gold in the 200 m, the IOC will not reward Thanou in the 100 because she was at the center of another drug scandal at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Thanou and fellow Greek runner Costas Kenteris missed drug tests on the eve of the opening ceremony, claiming they were injured in a motorcycle crash and were hospitalized. They were forced to pull out of the Games and were later banned for two years by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Thanou and Kenteris – the men’s 200-meter winner in Sydney – are still awaiting trial in Greece on misdemeanor charges of staging the motorcycle crash to avoid the drug tests. Although Thanou never tested positive and has not been linked to doping in Sydney, the IOC can deny her the gold medal based on her behavior in Athens, the officials told the AP. The prospect of Thanou being promoted to the gold medal has vexed IOC leaders ever since Jones admitted in 2007 that she used steroids at the time of the Sydney Games. Jones, who had been the first female athlete to win five medals at a single Olympics, served a six-month prison sentence last year for lying about doping and her role in a check-fraud scam. The IOC stripped Jones of her five medals, which also included gold in the 4×400 relay and bronze in the 4×100 relay, in December 2007. But the committee has held off redistributing the medals pending legal issues and further developments in the BALCO steroid probe. While the IAAF is in charge of amending the official results and rankings, the IOC has jurisdiction over the medals. «I cannot know what the outcome of the discussion will be, but not all cases need necessarily to have the same treatment or the same result,» IOC executive board member Denis Oswald said in a telephone interview yesterday. Thanou’s lawyers have indicated she could sue or appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to get the medal. In order to make a lawsuit more difficult, the IOC is not expected to make a formal announcement that it is denying Thanou the gold, but simply say that no decision was made to reallocate the medal.

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