Track star returns Olympic medals

Little by little, the remnants of Marion Jones' once glorious career are being stripped away.

Jones gave back the five medals she won at the Sydney Olympics on Monday following her admission that she was a drug cheat, and also agreed to forfeit all results, medals and prizes dating back to Sept. 1, 2000.

"I'm pleased that it was resolved efficiently," said Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. "And at the end of the day, I hope it's a good lesson that will have a dramatic deterrent effect on all athletes who may be tempted to dope."

The U.S. Olympic Committee now will return the medals to the International Olympic Committee, which will decide what to do with them. Jones won golds in the 100 meters, 200 meters and the 1,600 relay in Sydney, as well as bronzes in the 400 relay and long jump.

"That, however belated, was the right thing to do," said Dick Pound, chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

No one answered the door Monday at Jones' house in Austin, Texas.

Jones' relay teammates also should give back their medals, USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth said. Though there is precedent for not punishing an entire team, the race was tainted, Ueberroth said.

Jearl Miles-Clark, Monique Hennagan, Tasha Colander-Richardson and Andrea Anderson all won golds as part of the 1,600-meter relay. Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Nanceen Perry and Passion Richardson were on the 400-meter relay team.

Both Edwards and Gaines have served doping bans since the 2000 Olympics.

"It's our opinion that when any sporting event is won unfairly, it's completely tarnished and should be returned. The relay events were won unfairly," Ueberroth said. "We don't have the jurisdiction on that matter. If we did, we would be on the side of returning the medals."

The USOC has not talked to the other athletes yet about giving up their medals.

Fielding a clean team is a priority for a country trying to improve its image in the Olympic movement &

not to mention win the 2016 Games &

and drug cheats like Jones have been an embarrassment for the USOC.

Jones was one of the most celebrated female athletes in the world, and she vehemently denied any doping allegations.

Athens gold medalist Justin Gatlin faces a ban of up to eight years after testing positive for testosterone and other steroids in April 2006 &

one month before tying the then 100-meter world record.

But the USOC and USADA have worked hard to rid the U.S. team of cheats, and Ueberroth pledged Monday that the American athletes at next summer's Beijing Olympics will be drug-free. The USOC also sent letters apologizing to 205 national Olympic committees and the people of Australia.

"Even though it is a negative going back, this will be viewed as positive in our commitment to fielding a clean team," USOC CEO Jim Scherr said of Jones' punishment.

After long denying she ever had used performance-enhancing drugs, Jones admitted Friday that she'd taken the designer steroid "the clear" from September 2000 to July 2001. "The clear" has been linked to BALCO, the lab at the center of the steroids scandal in professional sports.

Jones' admission came as part of her guilty plea to lying to federal investigators about using steroids. She will be sentenced on Jan. 11, and prosecutors had suggested to Jones the prison term would be a maximum of six months.

Though Jones announced her retirement after Friday's court hearing, she accepted a two-year ban Monday and agreed to forfeit any results dating back to Sept. 1, 2000. That includes the two golds (200 and 400 relay) and silver (100) she won at the 2001 championships in Edmonton.

She stands to lose more. Scherr said the USOC plans to go after Jones for prize money it awarded her, about $100,000.

The International Association of Athletics Federations rules also allow for athletes busted for doping to be asked to pay back prize money and appearance fees. British sprinter Dwain Chambers, who admitted using the clear, had to pay back a reported $230,615 before he was allowed to return to competition after a two-year ban.

Jones would have earned millions in prizes, bonuses and fees from meets all over the world, including a share of the $1 million Golden League jackpot in 2001 and 2002.

If the IOC does nullify Jones' results in Sydney, the standings likely will be readjusted, with the second-place finisher moving up to gold, third to silver and fourth to bronze.

Jamaica won silver in the 1,600 relay, and France was fourth in the 400. Pauline Davis-Thompson of the Bahamas was the silver medalist in the 200 meters, and Tatiana Kotova of Russia was fourth in the long jump.

The silver medalist in the 100 meters in Sydney was Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou &

at the center of a major doping scandal at the Athens Olympics. She and fellow Greek runner Kostas Kenteris failed to show up for drug tests on the eve of the games, claimed they were injured in a motorcycle accident and eventually pulled out. Both later were suspended for two years.

"Obviously we're concerned about a level playing field all the time. But we have no jurisdiction or nothing to say about that," Ueberroth said. "We have a responsibility to compete fairly. That's our system, and that's the way we're going to live."


AP Sports Writers Stephen Wilson in London and Rachel Cohen in New York, and Associated Press Writer April Castro in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.

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