Jones` teammates win Olympics relay medals reprieve

Geneva: US teammates of disgraced sprinter Marion Jones were on Friday allowed to keep their 2000 Olympic relay medals after an International Olympic Committee decision to strip them was overturned.

The US 4x400m relay team won gold and the 4x100m team
came in third at the Sydney Games, but they were stripped of
their medals after Jones was found to have used drugs.

However, on Friday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport
ruled against the IOC.

"The CAS panel has ruled that the United States` teams
that competed in the women`s 4x100m and 4x400m athletics relay
events at the Sydney Games shall not be disqualified and the
medals and diplomas awarded to the athletes shall not be
returned to the IOC," said CAS in a statement.

The panel of three arbitrators said they had decided to
reinstate the relay teams` medals as there was no rule in
force at the time of the 2000 Olympics that clearly allowed
the IOC to annul a relay team`s results if a member of the
team was found to have committed a doping offence.

"The panel ... acknowledges that the outcome of this case
may be unfair to the other relay teams that competed with no
doped athletes helping their performance," said the CAS.

"However, such outcome exclusively depends on the rules
enacted or not enacted by the IOC and by the IAAF at the time
of the Sydney Olympic Games," it added.

"As a result, the panel is unanimously of the opinion
that, on the basis of the IOC and IAAF rules applicable at the
time of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, the appealed decision
of the IOC executive board of 10 April 2008 is incorrect
and must be set aside."

Jones was the poster girl for athletics in 2000, when she
won three golds and two bronzes in the Sydney Games.

After vehemently denying for years that she had ever
taken steroids, in October 2007 she finally admitted to taking
banned drugs from September 2000 to July 2001.

Her fall from grace was complete when she was sentenced
to six months in prison for lying to federal investigators
about being a dope cheat and over her role in a cheque fraud

Jones this year signed to play for the Tulsa Schock team
of the Women`s NBA, although she spent most of the time on the
bench during her debut in May.

Bureau Report