Marion Jones has finally come clean, but itâ€™s too little too late, in my opinion. After years of angry denials, Marion Jones is ready to admit she doped.
The three-time Olympic gold medalist is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in White Plains, N.Y., on Friday to plead guilty to charges in connection with steroid use, a federal law enforcement source told The Associated Press.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, and would not provide specific details about the plea.
Jones also sent family and close friends a letter in which she said she used steroids before the Sydney Games, The Washington Post reported Thursday. The Post was the first to report that Jones would come clean on doping.
Jones has at long last admitted steroid use, because she knew she was caught. If the evidence wasnâ€™t there, she would have never made the admission, I believe. Jones would still be denying, denying, and denying some more, each denial more vehement that the last one, if she wasnâ€™t about to be nailed.
The fact that Jones confessed at this late date is weak, as far as Iâ€™m concerned. Sheâ€™s not being honest because she feels guilty. Sheâ€™s doing it because the truth would eventually have come out in court. Her lawyers told her that the only way to save face now is to act contrite and step up.
But, after lying for so long, it just makes her look even worse. Itâ€™s like when Pete Rose FINALLY admitted betting on baseball after years and years of swearing he didnâ€™t.
Itâ€™s pathetic and contrived â€“ and I donâ€™t believe the public will buy into it for a minute. Jones would have been better off if she had just stuck to her original story. Now thereâ€™s no doubt that sheâ€™s not just a liar, but a cheater as well.
"I want to apologize for all of this," the Post reported Jones saying in her letter, quoting a person who received a copy and read it to the paper. "I am sorry for disappointing you all in so many ways."
Jones said in her letter that she faced up to six months in jail and would be sentenced in three months, according to the newspaper.
The admission also could cost Jones the five medals she won in Sydney, where she was the most celebrated female athlete of the games. She didn't win the five golds she wanted, but she came away with three and two bronzes, and her bright smile and charming personality made her a star.
In December 2004, the International Olympic Committee opened an investigation into doping allegations against Jones.
"Progress to date has been slow due the difficulty of gathering findings," IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said. "The information that Marion Jones might provide later on today may prove to be key in moving this case forward."
Under statute of limitations rules, the IOC and other sports bodies can go back eight years to strip medals and nullify results. In Jones' case, that would include the 2000 Olympics, where she won gold in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 1,600-meter relay and bronze in the long jump and 400-meter relay.
In addition to any jail term, Jones could face a long competition ban from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
The International Association of Athletics Federations said it was waiting for official notification from USADA setting out the details of Jones' reported admission.
If she admits to having been on drugs during a specific period, the IAAF could strip Jones of all her medals and results from the world championships and other events from that time. She won three gold medals, a silver and a bronze at the 1999 and 2001 worlds.
"Our rules are clear if she confesses," IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said.
No one answered the door at Jones' home in Austin, Texas, Thursday evening, and a message left by the AP for a phone number registered to her husband, Obadele Thompson, was not immediately returned.
The triple gold medalist in Sydney said she took "the clear" for two years, beginning in 1999, and that she got it from former coach Trevor Graham, who told her it was flaxseed oil, the newspaper reported.
"The clear" is a performance-enhancing drug linked to BALCO, the lab at the center of the steroids scandal in professional sports. Home run king Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees slugger Jason Giambi and Detroit Tigers outfielder Gary Sheffield all have been linked to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative and were among more than two dozen athletes who testified before a federal grand jury in 2003.
(Thanks to FOX Sports and AOL for portions of this article)
Copyright © 2010 Ed Attanasio
Marion Jones Stops Running From the Truth
Copyright © 2010 Ed Attanasio
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