Marion Jones Relay Teammates Can Keep Sydney Olympic Medals, Court Says

Seven relay teammates of admitted steroid user Marion Jones can keep the medals they won at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the highest sports court ruled.

The appeal by U.S. sprinters Andrea Anderson, LaTasha Colander Clark, Jearl Miles-Clark, Torri Edwards, Chryste Gaines, Monique Hennagan and Passion Richardson to keep their medals was unanimously upheld, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said in a news release.

Miles-Clark, Hennagan, Colander Clark and Anderson were part of the U.S. team that won the gold medal in the 1,600-meter relay. Gaines, Edwards and Richardson were part of the bronze- medal squad in the 400-meter relay.

Jones returned the five medals she won at the Sydney Games after confessing that she used steroids in 2007. The International Olympic Committee and International Association of Athletic Associations, track’s governing body, each ruled that Jones’s relay teammates also would have to return their medals.

“The panel found that at the time of the Sydney Olympic Games there was no express IOC or IAAF Rule in force that clearly allowed the IOC to annul the relay team results if one team member was found to have committed a doping offence,” the court said in a statement.

The IOC said it was preparing a statement and had no immediate comment on the ruling.

There was no rule in place during the Sydney Olympics to take away medals from relay teammates of athletes found to have used performance-enhancing drugs. That rule has since been added. The United States Olympic Committee said following Jones’s admission that her teammates should be forced to return their medals.

‘May Be Unfair’

“The panel, whilst it does not accept to impose a sanction on the basis of inexistent or unclear rules, acknowledges that the outcome of this case may be unfair to the other relay teams that competed with no doped athletes helping their performance; 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,” the court said.

The Lausanne, Switzerland-based tribunal has been the highest ruling body in sports disputes since 1984.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at mlevinson@bloomberg.net.

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