12:00 AM, July 24, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 24, 2008

Beijing 2008

Open letter to Bush

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Afp, Los Angeles

Douglas Logan, the new chief executive of USA Track and Field, on Tuesday urged US President George W. Bush to turn a deaf ear to Marion Jones's request that her perjury sentence be commuted.
In an open letter to the US president, posted on the USA Track and Field website, Logan said he "couldn't believe it" when he read media reports that Jones was among hundreds of convicted felons who have applied for presidential pardons or sentence commutations.
"She lied to federal agents. She took steroids. She made false statements in a bank fraud investigation - not necessarily in that order," Logan wrote. "She admitted it. And now she apparently wants to be let off."
Jones was sentenced in January to six months in jail after pleading guilty to lying to federal investigators about her use of performance-enhancing drugs and about a cheque fraud scheme that involved her former partner, Tim Montgomery.
Jones, who admitted that she used banned drugs prior to winning five medals - including three golds - at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, began serving the sentence on March 7.
"As the new CEO of USA Track and Field, I have a moral and practical duty to make the case against her request," added Logan, who was named to the job last Thursday and immediately vowed to make the fight against doping a top priority.
Logan noted that Jones denied cheating for years.
He said a pardon or commutation of her sentence would send a "horrible message" to young American athletes and fans - and to the huge international audience who saw Jones perform at the Sydney Games.
"Few things are more globally respected than the Olympic Games, and to pardon one of the biggest frauds perpetuated on the Olympic movement would be nothing less than thumbing our collective noses at the world," he said.

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