Washington attorney Mark Levinstein suffered a frustrating setback Wednesday in his effort to keep seven of the eight women who ran with admitted steroid user Marion Jones from losing their Olympic medals. On April 23, the U.S. Olympic Committee declined to fund their appeal because a letter Levinstein sent the committee used “threatening” language.
According to a Los Angeles Times article Thursday, the language in the letter, sent to the USOC in December, spurred them to decline funding for the appeal. The USOC paid for a similar appeal also argued by Levinstein, in 2004 involving U.S. men who ran on the 4-by-400-meter relay during the 2000 Olympics with Jerome Young, who should have been ineligible.
Levinstein, a partner in Williams & Connolly’s Washington office, convinced the USOC in 2005 that the men in the Young case should keep their medals.
The female athletes have kicked off a fund-raising campaign to cover the cost of their appeal. The USOC paid approximately $200,000 to finance the men’s appeal.
The USOC offered to provide the women with another attorney from a list of three other lawyers, but they have decided to stay with Levinstein.
They must file their appeal by May 1.
by Jeff Jeffrey