POSTED: December 9th 2009

Olympic first: IOC rules no Sydney 100m gold after stripping Marion Jones of medals

IOC EB meeting at the headquarters in Lausanne / Image: IOC/R.Juilliart
IOC EB meeting at the headquarters in Lausanne / Image: IOC/R.Juilliart

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

TAMPA, Dec. 9: The IOC has made a historic decision to withhold awarding Greek runner Ekatirini Thanou the coveted gold medal won by Marion Jones at Sydney 2000 for the 100m women’s sprint. Jones was stripped of her medals in October 2007 when she admitted to using a prohibited substance before, during and after the 2000 Games.

Thanou never tested positive but her credibility was compromised after she evaded dope tests and even faked a motorcycle accident as a cover up before the Athens Games four years' later.

Mark Adams, IOC director of communications, said: “The IOC feels that we have a strong moral and legal case to withhold the gold due to the circumstances surrounding Thanou in 2004. She disgraced herself and the Olympic Movement by avoiding three doping tests.

"The rankings depend on the IAAF and they have changed. But the actual awarding of the medal is a privilege but not a right and this is an IOC decision. Therefore in this case the IOC has decided not to award the gold medal.”

Olympic first

The question remained if this was the first time in Olympic history that the IOC had not awarded a gold medal.

David Wallechinsky, vice-president of the International Society of Olympic Historians (ISOH) and author of The Complete Book of the Olympics, added some valuable insight into the situation.

“This is the first time that a gold medal has not been awarded because of improprieties of the silver medalist. I can think of two instances where a gold medal wasn’t awarded in an event for other reasons.

“In 1908 in the cycling match sprint there were four finalists and they jockeyed for position so long that the time allotted for the event was exceed and they didn’t give any medals.

“Then in 1912 in the Greco-Roman wrestling, 82.5 kilos which is about 182 lbs, the two finalists fought for nine hours and finally became so exhausted that they ended the fight. They cancelled the fight because nobody had actually won.”

According to an IOC statement the medals are allocated as follows:

100m, where Jones placed 1st:
Gold: Not awarded
Silver: Ekatirini Thanou (Greece)
Silver: Tanya Lawrence (Jamaica)
Bronze: Merlene Ottey (Jamaica)

200m, where Jones placed 1st:
Gold: Pauline Davis-Thompson (Bahamas)
Silver: Susanthika Jayasinghe (Sri Lanka)
Bronze: Beverly McDonald (Jamaica)

Long Jump, where Jones placed 3rd:
Bronze: Tatyana Kotova (Russia)

The reallocation of the medals for the 4 x 400m relay and 4 x 100m relay, where Jones’ teams placed first and third respectively, is still pending the outcome of an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Picture above right: Mark Adams IOC spokesman / Image: IOC/R. Juilliart

Keywords · IOC · Sydney 2000 · Marion Jones · Ekatirini Thanou

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Laura Walden ()

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