Rogge says race places will move up after Jones case

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NEW YORK, Nov 2 (Reuters) Athletes who finished behind disgraced sprinter Marion Jones, who returned the five Olympic medals she won at the 2000 Sydney Games after admitting steroid use, will move up in order, says IOC chief Jacques Rogge.

''We move them up,'' International Olympic Committee president Rogge told reporters yesterday during a round-table forum at a New York hotel.

Rogge said top finishers down to five places are automatically tested by the IOC, along with three random finishers, and their results are stored for eight years so they would be cleared to be awarded medals.

''Marion Jones has already sent back the medals. She has to be formally disqualified by the international track and field federation and we will then endorse that and she will be stripped of her title as Olympic champion.'' Jones, the first woman ever to claim five medals at a single Olympics, won gold in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4x400 meter relay in Sydney. She took bronze medals in the long jump and 4x100 meter relay.

''If there is no other difficulty, there is an automatic replacement of the disqualified athlete,'' Rogge said.

Rogge said December's IOC Executive Board meeting in Lausanne would consider whether Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou would be awarded Sydney gold after finishing second to Jones in the 100 meters.

Thanou was herself banned for two years after she failed to appear for a drugs test at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

''This is a case we are going to discuss,'' Rogge said.

Jamaica's Tanya Lawrence took the bronze medal in the 100 meters in Sydney behind Jones and Thanou. Jamaican Merlene Ottey was fourth in the race.

Finishing behind Jones in the 200 meters were Pauline Davis-Thompson in second followed by Susanthika Jayasinghe of Sri Lanka and Jamaican Beverly McDonald.

Rogge also said a decision would be taken on whether other members of the US relay teams would be stripped of medals.

''Marion Jones admitted she did doping. She had an unfair advantage,'' said Rogge, who added he had been assured by US Olympic Committee chairman Peter Ueberroth that the USOC would abide by the IOC's decision on relay medals and not appeal.

Jamaica, Russia and Nigeria followed behind the US team in the women's 4x400 meter relay. France was the fourth-place finisher in the 4x100 meter relay.

Reuters BJR VP0537

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