Thanou should not receive Sydney gold - Coates

Brisbane, Oct 9: Australian Olympic chief John Coates has said Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou should not be awarded the Sydney Olympics 100 metres gold medal handed back by Marion Jones.

Jones, who this week admitted to steroid use in the build up to the Sydney Games, has returned the three gold medals and two bronzes she won in 2000.

But Thanou, the silver medalist in Sydney, was herself banned for two years after she failed to appear for a drugs test at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

''I'd like to think that Katerina Thanou would not be awarded the gold medal,'' Coates told the Australian Associated Press today.

''But there may be some legal difficulties for the International Olympic Committee to overcome in order to reach that conclusion.'' Jamaica's Tayna Lawrence won the 100m bronze medal in Sydney behind Jones and Thanou.

Coates also said he expected the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to hand back the medals won by the women's 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams.

Two of Jones's team mates in the 4x100m squad which finished third in Sydney, Torri Edwards and Chryste Gaines, have also served doping bans.

The US women's 4x100m relay team won the gold medal ahead of Jamaica and Russia.

''On the relays, it's my expectation that the United States Olympic Committee will be required to also hand back the medals won by the other ladies who competed with Jones in the two relays,'' Coates said.

''That is normal practice.'' The United States Olympic Committee has publicly apologised to the organisers and competitors of the 2000 Sydney Games and the Australian public for Jones's actions.

As part of the USOC's apology, president Peter Ueberroth pledged that the US would send a clean team to next year's Beijing Olympics.

''We have written a letter of sincere and humble apology to the 205 national Olympic committees and in addition, a more extensive letter to the people in Australia, apologising to the organisers, the volunteers and the Australian people,'' he said.

''This event should not be tarnished by what has happened.''


Story first published: Tuesday, October 9, 2007, 14:10 [IST]
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