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IOC ponders Jones medal dilemma

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Mihir Bose | 16:38 UK time, Thursday, 28 February 2008

Disgraced athlete Marion Jones may have given back the medals she won at the Sydney Games in 2000 following her admission she took performance-enhancing drugs, but the International Olympic Committee is still deciding what to do with those won by her relay team-mates.

The Americans won gold in the women’s 4x400m and also claimed a bronze in the 4x100m.

I understand the IOC feels all the medals should be returned to its headquarters in Lausanne because they were gained with the illegal assistance of Jones.

The Americans will contest any such move, but the IOC believes there can be no justification for letting them retain them.

Jones was a vital part of the American team in both races. The Americans, having missed out on gold to Bahamas in the 100m relay, had to rely on Jones to overturn Jamaica’s advantage in the 400m event.

Should IOC officials get their wish, the organisation then has the problem of deciding what to do with the medals once it has them back in its possession.

The most obvious answer would be to award the medals to the team that finished behind the Americans in the respective races.

This would mean bronze for France in the 4x100m relay and gold for Jamaica in the 4x400m.

However, it is now eight years since Sydney and one view in the IOC is that it is simply too late to re-allocate them.
After all, who knows where some of these athletes are?

What if, as one IOC official asked me, one of these athletes is in prison, "do we have a medal ceremony behind bars?"

It is very likely the IOC will decide the medals cannot be now reassigned to other athletes and should remain in its museum in Lausanne, a legacy of Jones and her cheating ways.

The final decision on these issues is likely to be made in April, when the IOC executive board has its meeting in Beijing.

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