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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 December 2007, 14:21 GMT
Thanou could sue over Jones medal
By Simon Austin

Marion Jones and Katerina Thanou
Thanou (right) finished second to Jones in the 100m in Sydney
Katerina Thanou will consider suing the International Olympic Committee if it refuses to award her Marion Jones' 100m gold medal from the Sydney Olympics.

Jones has been stripped of her five medals from 2000 but the IOC is yet to decide how to reallocate them.

Thanou, who finished second in the 100m, "believes she has to be awarded the gold", according to her lawyer.

Gregory Ioannidis told BBC Sport: "If not, we would have to consider if legal action needs to be taken."

The IOC formally stripped Jones of her Sydney medals on Wednesday.

It followed the American's disclosure in October that she had taken the banned steroid THG from September 2000 until July 2001.

There are quite a lot of athletes around the world who miss tests on a daily basis

Gregory Ioannidis

However, the IOC has delayed a decision on how to reallocate the medals.

It wants to find out if more of the athletes from the races were linked to the doping scandal involving the San Francisco-based Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (Balco), which supplied performance-enhancing drugs.

"We want to know more about the Balco case and be sure that other athletes who may be positively affected (by the upgrading) are not involved in this," Denis Oswald, a member of the IOC disciplinary committee, stated on Monday.

Ioannidis said he found the comments "unnecessary and unreasonable" and insisted there was no evidence linking Thanou with the Balco case.

"There's no evidence to substantiate any allegation against Katerina Thanou in relation to the Balco case," he insisted.

"We have made certain requests to the IOC to keep this matter private and confidential because of its delicate nature.

"So far, I would say our requests have been ignored. If the situation continues, if my client continues to be exposed, then we would obviously consider legal action.

"This is a possibility that will eventually become a certainty if my client continues to be exposed in the media as an accused person and a person who has a relationship with the Balco laboratories."

Thanou and compatriot Kostas Kenteris missed drugs tests on the eve of the 2004 Athens Olympics.

It was the third time they had missed tests, resulting in a two-year suspension, which expired at the end of last year.

The pair still face criminal charges of perjury and falsifying evidence in Greece after claiming they had been injured in a motorcycle crash on the eve of the Games.

Yet Ioannidis believes Thanou has been treated unfairly by both the media and prominent figures in the sport since the Athens Games.

IAAF vice-president Lord Coe recently said he would be "uncomfortable" with Thanou being awarded Jones' gold medal.

Ioannidis added: "She has missed three tests and has acknowledged that. She has also been fully co-operating with the authorities.

"There are quite a lot of athletes around the world who miss tests on a daily basis. I have not seen anybody else being treated in this way.

"This is what makes me think my client is being treated unfairly. A missed test is a missed test, it doesn't matter who has missed it."

And he underlined the IOC would have to have a good reason if it did not award the medal to Thanou.

"If they don't, they will obviously have to explain to us why they are not doing so," he said.

"Once we know the reasons behind the decision, then we will obviously consider a course of action.

"We are carefully monitoring the situation. We have to consider the evidence at the appropriate time. We do hope Katerina Thanou will be treated in a fair and equal way.

"If that is the case there is no need for any litigation."

SEE ALSO
Jones stripped of Olympic medals
12 Dec 07 |  Athletics
Jones's results annulled by IAAF
23 Nov 07 |  Athletics
Jones hands back Olympic medals
08 Oct 07 |  Athletics
Thanou gold medal hopes in doubt
07 Nov 07 |  Athletics


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