Seven American sprinters who were stripped of their 2000 Olympics relay medals because their teammate Marion Jones was doping won an appeal yesterday to have the medals restored. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne ruled in favour of the seven women, who appealed the International Olympic Committee's decision to disqualify them from the Sydney Games.
The court said that athletics rules in 2000 did not allow entire teams to be disqualified because of doping by one athlete. In Sydney, Jearl Miles-Clark, Monique Hennagan, LaTasha Colander Clark and Andrea Anderson were part of the squad that won gold in the 400 metre relay. Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Nanceen Perry and Passion Richardson were on the 400-metre bronze medal squad. All but Perry joined the appeal.
In 2007, Jones admitted she was doped in Sydney and also lost her individual golds in the 100 and 200 metres and bronze in the long jump. "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 offense," CAS said. The CAS panel of three lawyers acknowledged that the ruling might be unfair to the other relay teams that competed "with no doped athletes helping their performance."
But CAS said the ruling "exclusively depends on the rules enacted or not enacted by the IOC and the IAAF at the time of the Sydney Olympic Games". The IOC has now lost two CAS rulings within five weeks involving Olympic medals stripped in doping cases. The Belarus hammer throwers Vadim Devyatovskiy and Ivan Tsikhan won their appeals against disqualification from the 2008 Beijing Games and regained their silver and bronze medals, respectively.