LONDON -- The International Olympic Committee opened an investigation yesterday into doping allegations against Marion Jones, who eventually could be stripped of her five medals from the 2000 Olympics.
IOC president Jacques Rogge set up a disciplinary commission to look into the claims made by Victor Conte, head of the California-based lab accused of illegally distributing steroids.
Conte told ABC's "20/20" in a broadcast aired Friday that he gave Jones performance-enhancing drugs before and after the Sydney Olympics. He said he watched Jones inject herself with human growth hormone.
"The allegations made by Mr. Conte are extremely serious and the IOC is fully committed to bringing to light any elements that will help the truth prevail," the IOC said in a statement.
Jones won three gold and two bronze track and field medals in Sydney. She repeatedly has denied ever using banned drugs, and has threatened to sue Conte for defamation.
Rich Nichols, the general counsel for Jones, defended his client: "Marion Jones has passed a lie detector test, released a physician's report [based on an examination of her in 2001], maintained the same physical appearance and consistently stated that she has never, ever taken illegal performance enhancing drugs, while Victor Conte is someone who is under federal indictment, facing serious prison time, and has a record of issuing a host of contradictory, inconsistent statements. Victor Conte's allegations are not true and the truth will be revealed for the world to see as the legal process moves forward." World Anti-Doping Agency chief Dick Pound, a senior IOC member, has said Jones's medals should be stripped if Conte is telling the truth. Any decision on the medals would be made by the IOC executive board. Whether the medals can be stripped could depend on an interpretation of the IOC's rule on statute of limitations. Under the IOC charter, Olympic decisions can be challenged within three years of the games' closing ceremony. The Sydney Olympics ended more than four years ago, Oct. 1, 2000.
But Pound said that rule may not apply, because there was no actual decision and the allegations are only coming out now.
Reid Laymance of the Globe staff contributed to this report.