Sprinter Marion Jones Cleared of Doping

Track and field champion Marion Jones was cleared of doping charges Wednesday after results of a second drug test came back negative. The B-sample test result saved Jones from a possible career-ending suspension. The former Olympic champion's A-sample had tested positive in June for the banned oxygen-boosting substance known as EPO.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


Track and field star Marion Jones says she is ecstatic that her backup drug test came back negative. The test result was announced late yesterday and it saved Jones from a suspension that could have ended her career. The Olympic champion had tested positive in June for the banned oxygen-boosting substance known as EPO.

NPR's Tom Goldman reports.

TOM GOLDMAN: Marion Jones was thrilled. Many others, including her lawyer Howard Jacobs, were surprised.

Mr. HOWARD JACOBS (Attorney): Because it's not something that happens every day.

GOLDMAN: Indeed, if the public has learned anything from this summer of doping, it's that an initial drug test is almost always confirmed by the backup. It happened in the case of Tour de France champion Floyd Landis. It happened in the case of Olympic 100-meter sprint champion Justin Gatlin. But now, it did not happen in the case of Marion Jones. It's not the first time a urine test for the drug oxygen-booster EPO has shown conflicting A and B results. According to the Chicago Tribune, three doping cases involving triathletes were thrown out last year, after B results failed to confirm the A positives.

Jacobs also is the attorney for Floyd Landis, and as he did in the Landis case, Jacobs criticized the way Jones' A result was revealed before the B result came out.

Mr. JACOBS: Yeah. I mean, this is a perfect illustration of exactly why federations should not be publicizing positive A results or leaking positive A results to the media, and then following that up with pronouncements of guilt.

GOLDMAN: Certainly there have been suspicions of guilt with Marion Jones. Since winning a record five gold medals at the 2000 Olympics, she has spent much of her time fighting off doping allegations. She was linked to the BALCO scandal. Her former husband and boyfriend were both suspended for doping. Jones always has maintained her innocence. And in a statement released last night, she said a scientific process now has demonstrated that she's free of banned performance-enhancing drugs.

Tom Goldman, NPR News.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.