'Biggest fraud in sporting history'

MONTE CARLO - Marion Jones' legacy will be as "one of the biggest frauds in sporting history," IAAF president Lamine Diack said on Saturday.

MONTE CARLO - Marion Jones' legacy will be as "one of the biggest frauds in sporting history," IAAF president Lamine Diack said on Saturday.

Diack said he was "deeply disappointed" with the news that Jones had admitted to taking banned drugs when she won three Olympic golds and two bronze medals in 2000.

"If she had trusted in her own natural gifts and allied them to self sacrifice and hard work I sincerely believe that she could have been an honest champion at the Sydney Games," Diack said.

"Now, instead, Marion Jones will be remembered as one of the biggest frauds in sporting history."

Jones pleaded guilty on Friday in the US District Court in White Plains, New York, to lying to federal investigators when she denied using performance-enhancing drugs. After the hearing, she announced her retirement from the sport.

"A lot of people believed in the achievements of Marion Jones and this confession leaves a bitter taste, and tarnishes the image of a sport in which a majority of athletes are honest and clean," Diack said.

Jones said she took steroids from September 2000 to July 2001 and said she was told by her then-coach Trevor Graham that she was taking flaxseed oil when it was the steroid THG. She said she realised she was taking performance-enhancing drugs in November 2003.

The International Association of Athletics Federations will work with the IOC to determine whether Jones should have her medals from Sydney and other results taken away.

Under statute of limitations rules, the IOC and other sports bodies can go back eight years to strip medals and nullify results. In Jones' case, that would include the 2000 Olympics, where she won gold in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4x400 relay and bronze in the long jump and 4x100 relay.

Jones won a gold (100 metres) and bronze (long jump) at the 1999 worlds in Seville, Spain, and two gold (200 and 4x100) and a silver (100) at the 2001 world championships in Edmonton. - Sapa-AP

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