Teammate: Jones' Errors May Cost Others

Friday, October 12th 2007, 8:51 pm

By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ A former relay teammate of Marion Jones acknowledged she might have to pay for the disgraced sprinter's mistakes, perhaps even giving back her gold medal. ``I defended Marion against critics and said that I wouldn't believe she had taken performance-enhancing drugs unless she said it herself,'' Jearl Miles-Clark said in a statement Friday. ``Well, the other day she admitted it, and the reality of the situation has to be dealt with.''

On Monday, Jones returned her five medals from the 2000 Sydney Olympics _ gold in the 100 meters, 200 and 1,600 relay, plus bronze in the 400 relay and long jump.

``She made mistakes and now has to pay for them,'' said Miles-Clark, a member of the 1,600 relay team. ``Unfortunately, others may pay for those mistakes too.''

U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Peter Ueberroth said Monday the relays were tainted because of Jones' presence and all the medals should be returned, but it's up to the International Olympic Committee to make that decision. The IOC executive board next meets in December.

``My immediate thought is that this is bad for athletes like myself, who are truly clean and run outstanding times,'' Miles-Clark said. ``I feel that everyone will suspect us of cheating and look at us with a jaundiced eye.''

Jones teamed with Miles-Clark, LaTasha Colander-Richardson, Monique Hennagan and Andrea Anderson to win gold in the 1,600 relay, and with Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Nanceen Perry and Passion Richardson to win bronze in the 400 relay.

Richardson told ``The Dan Patrick Show'' on Friday that she wants to keep her bronze medal, but sympathizes with France, the fourth-place finishers.

``I did not cheat. There are other people on that team who were clean,'' Richardson said. ``And I completely agree with you that the fourth-place team does not have that medal. In this situation all around, no one wins.''

Asked if she was angry with Jones or felt sorry for her, Richardson said she felt ``sad.''

``I would want to know why you made the decision that you made. Basically, my teammates and my teammates' choices, we were never given a choice,'' Richardson said when asked what she would say to Jones.

``Because of the decision you chose to make, you took that decision and choice away from the rest of us. Now and forever, to some extent, whether they take the medal or do not take the medal, it's going to be tainted. The rest of us, our characters will be questioned.''

Edwards' agent, Emanuel Hudson, said they were ``waiting and seeing'' on how to respond.

Both Edwards and Gaines have served doping bans since the 2000 Olympics.

The International Association of Athletics Federations has authority over results at the Olympics, while the IOC controls the medals. IAAF rules state that all relay team members should be disqualified, but it's not clear whether that rule was in force during the Sydney Games.

``Concerning the medals, I don't know what will happen,'' Miles-Clark said. ``Whatever the outcome, I have my family's love and support, and the Olympic spirit will always be in my heart. These can never be taken away.''

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