Impassioned plea

By: Steve Moss
By: Steve Moss

Saying she didn't want her reputation tarnished, or her Olympic medal taken away by someone's bad decision, former UK sprinter Passion Richardson embarked on a nearly three year crusade to keep both. On Friday, Richardson got word around 9:00 a.m., from her attorney, that both would remain intact.

Saying she didn't want her reputation tarnished, or her Olympic medal taken away by someone's bad decision, former UK sprinter Passion Richardson embarked on a nearly three year crusade to keep both.

On Friday, Richardson got word around 9:00 a.m., from her attorney, that both would remain intact.

"It was an absolute pleasure to hear those words," Richardson said during a telephone interview with 27 SportsFirst.

Her saga began in 2007, when one of America's most decorated female athletes admitted to using performance enhancing drugs.  Marion Jones, who won five medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympic games, had all her race results erased, dating back to September 2000, when the International Association of Athletics Federation, the sports' governing body, ruled she used steroids and be stripped of her titles.

The IAAF also ruled Jones' teammates be stripped of their medals earned during the Sydney games.

Richardson, and three other sprinters, were Jones' teammates on the USA 4x100 relay team.  Richardson ran a leg with the 4x100, making her eligible for a bronze medal, after the US 4x100 team finished third in the finals.

"All along I knew we hadn't done anything wrong," Richardson said, as she was driving to Cleveland.  "It was a process.  I never thought it wouldn't happen."

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in favor of Jones' teammates.  Saying the rules in place in 2000 didn't allow entire teams to be disqualified because of one teammate's doping, Richardson now can keep her bronze medal from Sydney.

"It was frustrating at times, knowing you worked so hard to achieve something so great and to seven years later have it questioned," Richardson said. 

Richardson said there were no rules in place in 2000 regarding teammates and there was a three year statute of limitations in place to challenge the Olympic outcomes.

"We have a voice and I wasn't going to allow my voice to be silenced," she said.

Richardson ran track at UK from 1993-97, then later coached Wildcat sprinters from 2001-05.

Richardson said she wasn't especially close to Jones, but rather a competitor. 

Her bronze medal is on her parents' wall at their home in Florida.  Now, it will hang proudly and Richardson finally can have peace of mind.

Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.

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