The IOC agreed on Friday to speed up the process to determine whether to redistribute the medals stripped from Marion Jones for doping at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
The American athlete lost all five of her medals – including three golds - after admitting in 2007 that she was using performance-enhancing drugs at the time of the games.
The International Olympic Committee has held off reallocating the medals to other athletes, pending more evidence in the BALCO steroid probe and appeals by Jones’ relay teammates.
The issue was discussed Friday in a joint meeting of the IOC executive board and the council of the International Association of Athletics Federations.
IOC president Jacques Rogge said the IAAF pushed to have the cases resolved “as soon as possible.” The IOC, he said, will combine all elements of the Jones and BALCO cases and keep in contact with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
“We have decided this morning to speed up the process as soon as possible,” Rogge said. He said a ruling is expected in the next few months from the Court of Arbitration for Sport on the appeal by U.S. relay runners who were stripped of their medals because of Jones’ doping. The IOC disqualified her teammates, but conceded none of them broke any rules.
IAAF president Lamine Diack said he expects “some news” by October. Jones won gold medals in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 1,600-metre relay in Sydney, and bronze in the long jump and 400-metre relay.
Among those attending Friday’s meeting was Pauline-Davis Thompson of the Bahamas, who finished second in the 200 in Sydney and is waiting to learn if she will be bumped up to Jones’ gold.
“We talked about this with Miss Davis,” Rogge said. IOC officials are reluctant to hand Jones’ 100 gold to silver medallist Katerina Thanou, a Greek sprinter at the centre of a doping scandal at the 2004 Athens Games. She and fellow Greek runner Kostas Kenteris missed drug tests on the eve of the opening ceremony and claimed they were injured in a motorcycle accident. They were forced to pull out of the games and were later suspended for two years.
One option under consideration is leaving the gold medal spot vacant. Jones’ teammates on the 1,600 relay squad were Jearl-Miles Clark, Monique Hennagan, LaTasha Colander-Richardson and Andrea Anderson. The 400-relay squad also had Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Nanceen Perry and Passion Richardson.
Jamaica took silver behind the U.S. in the 1,600 relay and stands to move up to gold if the medals are readjusted.