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September 26, 2000
IOC sympathetic to Marion's plightThe Rediff Team
If proof were needed that Marion Jones has captured the public imagination with her bid to live the impossible dream and go back from Sydney with five golds in her kitbag, then the IOC provided that proof.
In the wake of the controversy surrounding Marion's husband C J Hunter, the world shot put champion, testing positive for nandrolone, the IOC's first thought was for the impact of the allegations on Marion herself.
"I deeply regret that this news is breaking when Marion Jones is running," said Istvan Gyulai, general secretary of the IAAF. "Whether it is true or not, it is terrible. We must remember that it has nothing to do with the Olympics."
Meanwhile, the US Olympic Committee, and the IOC, moved quickly to take away Hunter's athelete credentials, which permit him entry into those areas within the Olympic Stadium that are reserved for participants and their support staff.
Hunter was not eligible for the credentials in the first place, given the fact that he had pulled out of competition citing a knee injury. "That was an oversight," a USOC spokesman said. "We should have taken away his athlete's credentials, but it passed notice."
However, to ensure that Marion, renewing her bid on Wednesday to become the first athlete since 'Flying Finn' Pavoo Johannes Nurmi in Paris, 1924, to win five golds in a simple Olympics, does not lack for support from her husband who is also her coach, Hunter will be alloted support staff credentials.
"We do not want to do anything that will upset Marion's emotional support," said Mike Moran, spokesman of the USOC, while a spokesman of the IOC said that the Olympic body would have no problems with Hunter's continued presence at the Games, in his capacity of coach.
That contrasts with the case of Britain's Linford Christie. The former Olympic champion tested positive in a recreational race after he had stopped competing at the international level, but was still stripped of his credentials to be in Sydney as one of the coaches of the British track team.
But then again, no one, not even the IOC, seems inclined to do anything that will stand between 'Marvellous' Marion Jones, and her assault on history.
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