Jones’ medals center stage at IOC meeting


LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The fall from grace of U.S. sprinter Marion Jones will be complete this week when the International Olympic Committee’s executive board erases from the record books the five medals she won at the Olympics in 2000. Jones, once a dominant force in her sport, admitted recently to taking banned substances prior to the Sydney Games, has returned her medals and now faces potential jail time for lying to federal agents. Whether the IOC will reallocate her medals during the meeting, which starts on Monday and concludes on Wednesday, is uncertain given the legal and ethical complexities of the case. “We need to discuss this further,” an IOC member told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “It is not as straightforward as it looks.” Jones, the first woman to claim five medals at a single Olympics, won gold in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4x400m relay. She took bronze medals in the long jump and 4x100m relay. Sydney 100m silver medalist Katerina Thanou from Greece was suspended for two years following a missed doping test just before the Athens Games in 2004. The U.S. 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams could also stand to lose their medals due to Jones but some team members have said they do not intend to give the medals back. The IOC will also discuss the issue of betting following a series of scandals that have highlighted a growing problem in professional sports and have recently rocked the tennis world. In the final board meeting of the year the IOC will also hear progress reports on Beijing, preparing to host the Games next summer amid growing calls for an improvement of human rights in China and continuing concerns over pollution. Proceedings will kick off on Monday as Tibetans are scheduled to demonstrate outside the IOC headquarters over what they say is the organisation’s silence regarding their application for admission.

Tibet has been under Chinese rule ever since Communist troops invaded in 1950. Board members will also go over blogging guidelines for athletes, an issue popular with youngsters but a potential nightmare scenario for Games rights holders. Vancouver and London, hosts respectively of the 2010 Winter Games and 2012 Summer Olympics, will also deliver their progress reports as will Russia’s Black sea resort of Sochi, which was awarded the 2014 Winter Games earlier this year.