Marion Jones, a role model to many aspiring women athletes around the world, has now fallen from grace. Blessed with a winning smile, along with incredible beauty, poise, and grace, she was the rare combination of power and femininity. Her glowing success in track and field translated into riches and instant celebrity status. Suddenly, she has managed to lose it all. However, this was coming. She has been suspected of using steroids to enhance performance, and people thought that she was just too good.
Marion Jones, owner of three Olympic gold and two bronze medals pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators when she denied using performance-enhancing drugs. Given the guilty plea it is almost a done deal that she will have to give back all of the medals and her records will be erased from the public record. In a teary apology afterward outside the U.S. District Court, she said she was retiring effective immediately. She also pleaded guilty to a second count of lying to investigators about her association with a check-fraud scheme. Jones admitted lying about her knowledge of her former boyfriend Tim Montgomery's involvement in a scheme to cash millions of dollars worth of stolen or forged checks. Montgomery; Jones' longtime agent Charles Wells; and a former coach, Olympian Steve Riddick, have all been convicted in the scam.
Jones is the biggest name to be brought down so far in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative scandal. But home run king Barry Bonds also has been linked to BALCO, and a grand jury is still investigating whether he lied to federal investigators. If proven Bond's home run records will be marginalized and he would face prison time.
According to Marion Jones, the stuff she took made her feel different. She could train more intensely, recover faster, and post better times. She had to have known that the stuff she was taking was steroid and it was illegal. What made her take steroids? The pressure of winning, fame, or instance fortune. No one will really know for sure, but in a sport where a fraction of a second separates a world champion from second place, taking steroids gives you an unfair advantage and is cheating, pure and simple.
Why would Marion Jones admit to a federal judge after all these years that she lied about using steroids? This is easy. She pleaded guilty to lesser charges worked out with the prosecutors ahead of time. Bank fraud carries a much heavier sentence.
Can she pick up the pieces? Yes, at 31 she is still relatively young. Apologizing in from of the US Court House was excellent. Next step is to go on the talk programs, such as Oprah, then write a book, keep your nose clean, and you will be back. The American public are sympathetic to fallen heroes along as they repent.
The lesson to be learned here is do it right and select a good group of people to surround yourself with, and finally, use common sense.