Marion Jones says she didn’t deserve prison

Monday, December 6, 2010

LONDON - Disgraced sprinter Marion Jones said she didn’t deserve a prison term in connection with a doping affair and didn’t know she was using performance-enhancing substances at the time.

Jones, 35, told BBC that she considered the ruling by a US court too harsh because her personal trouble was enough punishment.

“I know I broke the law and committed a crime by lying,” Jones told the BBC’s Inside Sport programme. “My reputation, fame and fortune was lost. Learning that lesson would have benefited society more than putting me away for six months.”

Jones was sentenced in 2008 for lying to federal investigators about using doping substances and over a cheque fraud case involving her former boyfriend, sprinter Tim Montgomery.

Jones was implicated in a scandal around the Balco lab in California. She lied to investigators before finally admitting to substance abuse in 2007.

Apart from the prison term, Jones was stripped of her three gold and two bronze medals from the Sydney 2000 Olympics and her results erased from the athletics books.

Jones said she only realised in 2003 that she was taking in forbidden substances at the time of the Sydney Games.

“In 2000, I had no idea that I had been given something illegal,” At that point, I knew that I had just worked hard and I was blessed with an enormous amount of talent,” Jones said.

The fastest women in the world at the time, Jones said that her talent alone would have given her a chance to win in Sydney without performance boosters.

“I’m sure that if I hadn’t been given anything my chances of winning in Sydney would still have been pretty strong because I’m a hard worker.”

“Even before I was given the drugs, in 1998 I set my personal bests. I know that when I first got out of college I wasn’t given anything and even before I entered college I made the Olympic team at 15,” said Jones, claiming she was “too trusting”.

However, the former Balco boss Victor Conte would have none of this, the BBC said.

“Marion Jones is not being truthful about her past use of drugs. She knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs … It is sad that she has not been willing to come completely clean about her drug use,” said Conte, was also jailed over the affair.

Filed under: Olympic Games

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