Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones canceled plans late Monday night to travel to Monaco to meet with International Association of Athletics Federations President Lamine Diack, acting on the advice of Nike, a source said.
Officials from Nike, which sponsors both athletes, urged them to talk by phone with Diack, the source said, allowing them to more quickly address their relationship with track coach Charles Francis to members of the U.S. media. It is unclear, however, when Jones and Montgomery will offer their long-awaited public comments on their ties to Francis.
Jones and Montgomery were considering a news conference in Raleigh, N.C., as early as Wednesday but their agent, Charles Wells, did not return calls seeking confirmation of that date.
Jones and Montgomery are believed to be seeking a second coach to introduce along with jump specialist Derek Hansen as their head coaches for the season. Jones and Montgomery are expected to announce in the coming days that Francis will work with them only on a limited basis as a long-distance consultant to their coaches, sources have said. Sponsors and track officials, however, have urged Jones and Montgomery to sever all ties with Francis since they began training with him in December.
Diack on Monday requested that Montgomery and Jones contact him -- he did not insist that they fly to Monaco -- to explain the nature of their relationship with Francis. In a statement Friday, Francis disavowed any connection to performance-enhancing drugs, but he is best known for having coached Ben Johnson when the sprinter tested positive for steroids at the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul. Jones has been so upset by the negative publicity surrounding her interactions with Francis that she had refused to be seen with him in recent days.