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Newz Forum: OTHER: Pound rips Jones for 'grandstand performance'

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posted on Jun, 17 2004 @ 03:49 PM
Associated Press - World Anti-Doping Agency chief Dick Pound is unimpressed with Marion Jones' latest efforts to clear her name. Pound said her call for a public hearing into drug allegations against her was a "grandstand performance," and he accused the five-time Olympic medalist of trying to subvert proper anti-doping hearing procedures.

He denied that Jones and other U.S. athletes were the target of a "witch hunt," saying, "The rights of any athletes are more than fully protected."

Pound spoke Thursday, a day after Jones held a news conference in San Francisco to challenge the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency investigation that could bar her from the Athens Olympics in August. Jones is one of the most prominent athletes who testified in a federal probe of a Bay Area drug lab accused of illegally distributing steroids.

USADA is investigating Jones for possible doping violations. She met with doping officials last month to discuss their evidence, and received a letter from the agency last week asking follow-up questions. USADA is building cases based on documents and other circumstantial evidence deriving from the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative case. Athletes can be banned without a positive drug test.

Jones, America's best-known track star, accused USADA of running a "kangaroo court" and reiterated that she has "never, ever" used banned drugs. She appealed for a public hearing to ensure a fair process.

"I don't think that an athlete for whatever reason is able to subvert that process," Pound said in a conference call from Montreal. "I think it was very unfortunate that Marion was advised to use words like secret court with respect to USADA."

Pound defended the burden of proof being applied in the doping investigations. WADA and USADA rules say drug violations must be proven "to the comfortable satisfaction" of the panel hearing the case rather than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard used in U.S. criminal courts.

"We're not dealing here with criminal offenses, and there has never been a criminal burden of proof," Pound said. "I'm constantly surprised to see lawyers who are supposedly knowledgeable in anti-doping matters screaming and yelling about a change in the burden of proof, when that's what it has been for years."

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