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  • Marion Jones Surrenders Medals, USOC Pledges Clean Team in Beijing


    Out of her grasp: Marion Jones has returned her five medals from the Sydney Olympics.  
     (ATR) Now that Marion Jones has surrendered her medals from the Sydney Games, the U.S. Olympic Committee says it will try to recover prize money, while pledging a drug-free U.S. team for the 2008 Olympics.

    An attorney for Jones handed over the five medals, three gold and two bronze, to an agent from the U.S. Anti Doping Agency Monday in Austin, Texas, where Jones resides. Jones, 31, has also accepted a two-year ban on competition issued Monday by USADA, running through 2009.

    The medals will be given to the U.S. Olympic Committee, which will then send them to IOC headquarters in Switzerland. The medals handover came just two days after Jones pleaded guilty to federal charges she lied to investigators about drug use in Sydney.

    USOC chief executive Jim Scherr says Jones will also be asked to return more than $100,000 in bonuses paid by the USOC for her performance in Sydney.

    Also on the line, at least in the eyes of USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth are the medals of Jones’ teammates in the 4x100m relay and the 4x400m.

    “It’s our opinion when something is won unfairly, it’s completely tarnished and should be returned, and the relay events were won unfairly,” said Ueberroth in a conference call with reporters Monday.

    While Ueberroth says he believes the relay team members should give up the medals, he says that’s the jurisdiction of the IOC, which has established a disciplinary commission to review the Jones case.

    Ueberroth spoke following a hastily called meeting by telephone of the USOC Board of Directors. He says the board approved a series of apologies be sent to 204 national Olympic committees around the world, organizers of the Sydney Olympics and athletes,
Marion Jones' team mates in two relay races in Sydney may have to give up their medals. (Getty)  
were denied the podium, the chance to hear their national anthem or see their flags”.

The USOC chair says the board has also issued a pledge that the U.S. team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing “will be completely clean.”

“There’s never any absolute guarantees, but we’re taking steps to see that that will happen,” he said.

USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth has issued apoligies to the leaders of the Sydney Olympics and people of Australia for the Marion Jones scandal. (Getty)  
refused to comment on whether Katerina Thanou, second-place finisher in the 100m to Jones, should be awarded the gold; rumors abound that she may have doped prior to Sydney. In Athens, she withdrew from the Games in an effort to end a controversy over her failure to appear for drug tests. Ueberroth says the matter is up for the IOC to handle.

Ueberroth, who last week warned Chicago that its Olympic bid was lagging some of its rivals internationally, called the reputation of U.S. athletes “one of many factors” that affect the way a city is perceived.

“Everything that’s happening in a country that’s bidding is a factor,” he said.

Jones will be sentenced on her federal charges in January. She says she expects to serve six months in prison.

The three-man IOC Disciplinary Commission will be meeting to review the Jones case soon. The chair of the commission says he expects to have the matter closed by the end of the year. The final meeting of the IOC Executive Board is scheduled for December 10 to 12, a meeting which would likely consider the findings of the commission.

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