LONDON -- IOC president Jacques Rogge said Marion Jones
showed poor judgment in becoming involved with people linked to
The triple Olympic gold medalist has strongly denied taking
drugs, and Rogge said no evidence has been found to implicate her.
"She is today technically innocent," Rogge told the
SundayTimes. "But ultimately she has to ask herself something
about the perception that people might have -- that people might
say, 'Are you sure you are living with the right people?'"
Jones and boyfriend Tim Montgomery were among dozens of athletes
who have testified in the case involving the Bay Area Laboratory
Co-Operative, a California sports supplement company accused of
being at the center of a doping ring.
Jones' attorney, Joseph Burton, accused Rogge of trying to
influence an investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and
called the comments "irresponsible."
"For a man in Jacques Rogge's position to make comments like
this while an organization that is under his influence is
conducting a supposedly non-biased examination is highly suspect
and unfair ," Burton said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
"Assuming that this wasn't intended to influence USADA, it is
irresponsible, has the effect of tainting the decision-making
process and only contributes to the perception of the existence of
a 'witch hunt' to target an athlete who has passed every drug test
she has taken."
Jones and Montgomery, the men's world 100-meter record holder,
also worked for a time with Charlie Francis, coach of Canadian
sprinter Ben Johnson, who was twice banned for taking steroids.
She also was married to shot putter C.J. Hunter, who was thrown
off the American team at the Sydney Olympics after testing positive
for the steroid nandrolone.
"She should have a long, hard look at the people she meets and
the people she trains with and the people she is living with,"
Rogge told the newspaper.
Francis was in charge of Johnson's training at the time the
Canadian was setting world records. Johnson was stripped of his
100-meter gold medal from the Seoul Olympics in 1988 after he
tested positive and his world-record time of 9.79 was removed.
"To have a link with someone like Charlie Francis is not a
criminal offense," Rogge said. "But it is damn stupid. You can't
disqualify her but it is stupid to train with a guy with the
reputation of Francis."
Jones has said Francis never talked about drugs during their