Thanou mulls legal action


ATHENS: Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou will consider legal action if the Sydney 2000 Olympics 100m gold medal, returned by disgraced US sprinter Marion Jones, is not awarded to her, her lawyer said on Friday. 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has stripped Jones of her five Sydney Games medals over her confession to doping and Thanou, second in the 100m in Sydney, stands to benefit from her upgrading. 

The IOC, though, has yet to redistribute the medals, saying it wanted more information on the San Francisco-based BALCO lab investigation involving prominent athletes, for fear other athletes who could get Jones' medals might be involved. 

“We will consider any legal action at the appropriate time,” Thanou's lawyer Gregory Ioannidis told Reuters.  

“This (lawsuit) is a possibility pending the final decision by the IOC on the medals.” 

Ioannidis said his client was also considering legal action against the IOC to stop her name being linked with the BALCO case, given a Greek prosecutor and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have closed the file on Thanou. 

“As this case has been closed by official bodies such as the IAAF and the Greek prosecutor we do not see any reason why her name should be linked to BALCO,” Ioannidis said. 

IOC President Jacques Rogge said he would contact the US Department of Justice for more information regarding an investigation into BALCO before awarding any of Jones's medals to athletes who were runners-up. 

Other IOC members have openly linked the delay in redistributing the medals with Thanou's potential link to BALCO. 

Thanou accepted a two-year ban stemming from a series of missed doping tests, including one on the eve of the Athens 2004 Olympics, together with fellow Greek sprinter Costas Kenteris. Since December last year she is free to race again. 

Jones, who became the first woman to win five medals in track and field at a single Olympics after winning gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x400m relay and taking bronze in the long jump and 4x100m relay, faces sentencing in January after her confession and could go to jail for lying to federal investigators. – Reuters 

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