Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sucker Punched!

The 400 and 1,600-meter relay teammates of Marion Jones from the 2000 Sydney Games were sucker punched last week when the IOC officially a stripped their medals. Everyone in the track world knew the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision was coming but that doesn’t change the outrage because the decision makes no sense.

Marion’s teammates had no knowledge of Marion’s actions nor were they responsible for her illegal actions. The prudent move by the IOC in this scenario should be to strip Marion of her relay medal. Oh, wait—they already did that.

Marion bashing is a sport that we will leave the “do-nothing” media to play as she serves a 6 month jail term. The people who have been wronged are Marion’s former teammates. Many of the runners are retired from track and are without an opportunity to earn another Olympic medal. Does the act of one athlete outweigh the need of fairness to eight athletes? The answering is a big fat NO! The decision to take the strip their medals is terrible policy and it penalizes the innocent athletes that the IOC is charged with serving.

By Jay Hicks, a.k.a. Track Evangelist.


  1. I feel sorry for her team mates. Of course! but winning with cheaters in the team is not ok. Turn it around: What if the Greek women team with Tanou on drugs would have won .09 seconds infront of an american team, do you think the last 3 greeks should keep their medals? leaving the americans with silver.

    I don't. I think this sends out the right signals and the worst punishment possible is that other people also suffer.

  2. Tommy: I understand where you are coming from. Medal swapping is a messy, non-practical solution that's off in the weeds. It's a public relations nightmare of a sport on life support. Ask why the other pro leagues don't go this far is punishing drug cheats.

    It's why the NFL for example treaded lightly in it's punishment of the Patriots spygate. You can't throw out the baby with the bath water.

    The other assumption made is that the testing is infallible--which it is certainly not. And that the track federations are without blame and we know for a fact that sooo far from the truth. A lawsuit would bring up all of these matters and make the sport look even worse than it does know.

    But more importantly people are still talking about the track doping issues. What about football and baseball's issues? They put the matter to rest and moved on--which is class pr relations.