Backup test clears Jones of allegations

September 8th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Backup test clears Jones of allegations

Pound says there should be more confidence now in doping procedure

The news that a backup doping test has cleared Marion Jones of drug allegations should be seen by athletes as a vote of confidence for the anti-doping movement, Richard Pound says.
"It ought to increase your confidence in doping control, because it shows where there's the slightest doubt, it's resolved in favour of the athlete," Pound, the chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said.
Jones, 30, a three-time Olympic champion sprinter and jumper, whose career has been dogged by allegations of drug use and by her associations with a husband and companion who were both busted for doping, gave a urine sample at the U.S. track championships in June that showed traces of the banned blood booster erythropoietin. She faced a two-year suspension from track.
However, the backup B sample failed to confirm that result. To get conflicting results from parts of the same sample is "very rare," according to experts.
But Jones's lawyers, Howard Jacobs and Rich Nicholls, trumpeted the news happily, and Jones said in a statement: "I am absolutely ecstatic. . . . 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.

" I am anxious to get back on the track."
Discarding the original finding does not undermine the anti-doping system," Pound said.
"EPO testing is an interpretation. It's two analyses done on parts of the same sample. One analyst said on balance it's positive. The second analyst says he's not so sure.
"The tie goes to the athlete, which is fair. You don't want to sanction an athlete unless you're scientifically and morally certain you have a positive case.
"This may give rise to a lot of people saying you can't trust the tests. That's nonsense.
"We'll get a report and find out if someone was overly aggressive in interpreting a positive or someone wasn't aggressive enough in failing to find confirmation."
Jones withdrew from a meet in Zurich, Switzerland, in August, hours before the first positive test became known.
Until then, she had enjoyed a strong season, running the 100 metres in 10.91 seconds, her best time in five years.
Jones dominated track and field in the late 1990s. At the Sydney Games in 2000, she became the first woman to win five Olympic medals -- gold in the 100 metres, 200 and 1,600 relay and bronze in the long jump and 400-metre relay.
Jones could conceivably run in the World Cup of Athletics in Athens on Sept. 16 and 17.
Jacobs, who also represents disgraced Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, who tested positive for testosterone and awaits potential doping charges, said he wasn't surprised at the turnabout for Jones. He said he believed the interpretation of the A sample had been questionable in the first place.

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