Joined: 15 Nov 2005
|Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 11:56 pm Post subject: Marion Jones passes second drug test, is cleared of doping
|It's too bad her A result was leaked to the press before the B sample was tested.
By Vicki Michaelis, USA TODAY
Five-time Olympic medalist Marion Jones has been cleared of allegations she used performance-enhancing drugs in June at the U.S. track and field championships, where she won the 100 meters.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency informed Jones on Wednesday afternoon that tests on her "B" urine sample came back negative, according to one of her lawyers, Howard Jacobs. Her "A" sample tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO), an endurance-boosting drug.
The negative "B" test means she won't be charged with any doping violations and can return to competition.
"I am absolutely ecstatic," Jones said in a statement released by her lawyers. "I have always maintained that I have never, ever taken performance-enhancing drugs, and I am pleased that a scientific process has now demonstrated that fact."
Jones' performances, in decline since she gave birth to her son in June 2003, are on an upswing this season. She has broken 11 seconds in the 100 twice and won the U.S. title by edging world champion Lauryn Williams. "I am anxious to get back on the track," Jones said in the statement.
At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Jones became the first woman to win five track medals, with golds in the 100, 200 and 4x400-meter relay and bronzes in the long jump and 4x100 relay.
Jones has been dogged by doping suspicions in recent years. The father of her son, sprinter Tim Montgomery, was banned from the sport last year as a result of the investigation in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO).
Questions have long been raised about the reliability of EPO testing, and this negative 'B' test will spark further debate.
"I believe there are issues with that test," said Jacobs, who has defended several athletes on doping charges. "It's a difficult test. From what I saw on the 'A' sample, it was questionable as to whether it should've been called a positive. I can't say I was shocked that the 'B' came back negative based on what the 'A' looked like."
As he has in the doping case involving Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, Jacobs derided the leaking of positive tests. Doping cases aren't supposed to be made public until they are resolved, but most become public through the media once a positive 'A' test is confirmed.
"This is perfect illustration of why this new trend of leaking A-positives is a horrible thing," Jacobs said. "This whole thing should have happened anonymously. Marion should've been able to keep competing and no one should have known about it."
Jacobs said it also places a burden on sports federations and those who administer the tests to make sure they're doing a good job and following protocol on releasing results.
"They need to look at their procedures," Jacobs said. "Not USADA so much as the sports federations" who leak the positive tests.
"They always talk about holding athletes to the highest standards," he said. "They need to follow their own rules. This kind of calls them on the carpet."