October 5, 2007

"It is with a great amount of shame that I stand before you and tell you I have betrayed your trust."

How painful to see the destruction of a heroine. Marion Jones — winner of 3 Olympic gold medals — has pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators and admitted about taking steroids.

35 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

rule 1, never ever lie to the FBI, they take it personally.

if you can't give an honest answer, don't say anything.

hdhouse said...

aaSimply incredibly sad.

Paco Wové said...

"Marion Jones Track"? Did she change her name recently?

Ann Althouse said...

Sorry, that was an editing artifact...

angie said...

Online, I read lots of true confessions from people right and left, and I do mean Right, who do illegal recreational drugs. I think they rationalize their support of the criminal industry with an "I can afford it and won't get addicted." Never mind how they're paying into a system that ruins so many others and corrupts our law and banking system.

At the time of the original allegations, it seemed that Marion's denial was disingenuous. At least now her admission apears to be sincere an she admits to the shame of lying and cheating.

rhhardin said...

I never heard of her. It must be like a figure skating thing : I'm the wrong kind of person to hear about it.

John Williamson's Sydney 2000 was good.

Methadras said...

I like Marion Jones. She is a superb olympic level athelete and appears to be a nice person, who when cornered against the question of steroid use, balked and lied. This bothers me on two levels with regards to her statements. The first is that she has a great amount of shame with respect to her lying to the FBI and in pleading guilty in court. The second is that she willingly put herself in this position and didn't ponder the shame she had brought onto herself by uttering those lies. Or she did ponder it and yet did it anyway for fear of losing her medals.

The problem with that is, is that as superb of an athlete that she is or was, she still thought it necessary to juice up in a competition that was about showing off naturally attainable abilities through training. Did her trainers know? If they did, did they administer or supply the steroids too? Or where they aware, but decided to simply look the other way and say nothing?

It is a shame she has done this. It tarnishes the sport, her name, her family, her reputation. Is it a show stopper? Only for her career. She will find something else to do. The public will forget about this in 3 weeks time and she will be hired by NBC or some other journalistic venue to become a sports commentator for the Olympics.

Maxine Weiss said...
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Maxine Weiss said...
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Pogo said...

I believe drug use is incredibly destructive. But people take drugs anyway. Performance enhancing drugs are illegal, but athletes use them anyway, tearful apologies notwithstanding. She was running against other athletes who, it seems likely, were also using.

What to do? I'm ready to cede defeat. The drug war seems to have been at least as destructive as the menace it was meant to fight. Olympians lose their medals, while baseball players keep their jobs and records. No one doubts the Russians and Chinese Olympians abused these drugs before tests existed. Their drugged achievements go unmentioned.

Each new test begets another method to escape detection. You cannot defeat this. So I have to ask why we are still trying. And I do not claim to have an acceptable half-way point; I'm just tired of the whole promethean fight.

rhhardin said...

National Lampoon in April 1976 had a nice Olympic Cover on the matter, back when the Russians were winning.

My girlfriend at the time didn't find it funny. I think there's a gender divide on it.

SteveR said...

I am one who grew up with great admiration for athletes, especially Olympic athletes. Starting with East German "female" swimming freaks, I began to lose that admiration. Now I almost never think the good ones aren't doing something wrong. I guess I'm glad I have three girls who are not so into sports as I was as a young boy.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Personally I am of the opinion that probably 90% of of our 'elite' athletes are probably on some kind of chemical enhancement of some sort and just haven't been caught.

Anecdotal: Last month prior to a 100+ mile ride I was planning on taking, I had a season ending crash in which I ended up with 2 broken fingers, fractured radial head which required surgery plus 5 stitches in my right eyebrow never mind the bruised hip and knee. One month later I can hardly hold a pint of Guinness in my left arm much less lay any kind of pressure in the drops much less sprint if I had to. What's my point?

In the 2003 Tour De France, Tyler Hamilton broke his collarbone in the first stage (there are 21) yet managed to finish FOURTH. Hamilton was subsequently suspended from pro cycling for testing positive for illegal substances.

Did he use drugs? Its not for me to say but as a competitive cyclist myself, I personally have a hard time contemplating riding 2000 miles in 21 days, throw in the mountain stages with a broken collar bone. Hell my injuries were minor in comparison and I was on Vicodan for 2 days just to keep me from losing it.

I'm to the point of just let them dope and let the best doper win. Stripping people of their medals/titles 2-5 years after the fact is pointless. Floyd Landis 'won' the 2006 Tour only to finally being disqualified for drug use (yeah it took over a year) so now Oscar Pereiro is the '06 winner.

I'm sure he's simply thrilled.

Liam said...

Marion Jones built her heroine status on the foundation of drug use and lying about that drug use. Therefore her downfall was the inevitable result of building upon sand.

Sports have devolved into the pursuit of goals no matter what the cost or mechanism. They seem to no longer be merely the result of men (and women) testing their mettle against one another.

Marion Jones is a sad example of a tragedy. She was a tragedy forged in the making of a heroine...

matthew said...

Marion Jones IS a heroine, at least in the sports sense (check fraud is something else). Sure, she used drugs, and lied about it, but rather than get caught, she actually had the cajones to admit she lied.

This flies in the face of all her pathetic male doping counterparts. For a very undersized list, look at Giambi, Shefield and Bonds (MLB), of the world, Floyd Landis (Cycling), Tim Couch (NFL), Ben Johnson (Track and Field).

Yes, she's going to get her medals stripped, but people should see her as much more as a courageous whistleblower, not as just another lying cheater.

downtownlad said...

Who cares? There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with using steroids. Nothing.

The fact that this is illegal and that we waste precious tax dollars and limited police resources to prosecute this stuff is completely assinine.

And I have zero problem with her lying to investigators. It's none of their business.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Who cares? There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with using steroids. Nothing.

Well yes and no. Taken in moderation and under medical supervision, roids are a useful in enhancing strength, physique and combating wasting diseases such as cancer and AIDs. Then like anything else, if abused it has nasty side effects like liver disease, testicular shrinkage, clitorial enlargement or heart disease.

The fact that this is illegal and that we waste precious tax dollars and limited police resources to prosecute this stuff is completely assinine.

Agreed. I remember back in the 'day' when it was common place to go to the gym and everyone was shootin a pop of Deca-durabolin) and no one said boo or looked at anyone cross-eyed for doing it. In the 70-80s it was 'illegal' to the extent that cared to look for it. Then a couple of teens OD and the heavens come forth and now your looking at a Class 3 felony for possession of a vial of Nandro that otherwise used keeps granny from using a walker.

I'm all for legalization. Let Darwin be proved and decrease the surplus population.

Trooper York said...

Me and Mrs Jones, we got a thing going on
We both know that it's wrong
But it's much too strong to let it cool down now

We meet ev'ry day at the same cafe
Six-thirty I know she'll be there
Holding hands, making all kinds of plans
While the jukebox plays our favorite song

Me and Mrs, Mrs Jones, Mrs Jones, Mrs Jones
Mrs. Jones got a thing going on
We both know that it's wrong
But it's much too strong to let it cool down now

We gotta be extra careful
That we don't build our hopes too high
Cause she's got her own obligations and so do I
Me, me and Mrs, Mrs Jones, Mrs Jones, Mrs Jones
Mrs Jones got a thing going on
We both know that it's wrong
But it's much too strong to let it cool down now

Well, it's time for us to be leaving
Iit hurts so much, it hurts so much inside
Now she'll go her way and I'll go mine
But tomorrow we'll meet the same place, the same time
Me and Mrs Jones, Mrs Jones, Mrs Jones
(Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Cary Gilber)

Zeb Quinn said...

Who cares? There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with using steroids. Nothing.

That's bull. The fact is that world class athletes begin their journey to that destination in childhood. Your flippant attitude would have children using steroids for a competitive advantage, and there is everything wrong with children using steroids.

Hoosier Daddy said...

That's bull. The fact is that world class athletes begin their journey to that destination in childhood.

So what? I have no issue with an athlete taking performance enhancing drugs. The issue is whether steroids are bad. Like any other substance, when abused it will damage you.

Daryl said...

Oh yeah, very sad. Some roided up broad who runs real fast is exposed as a roider.

What an accomplishment. She runs real fast and she jumps real far. Because she practices all day (i.e., throws away her life on athletic training instead of having an original thought, ever) and takes performance-enhancing drugs (because if you don't, you can't be a world-class athlete).

Athletics are shit and athletes are, at best, phonies. Can you imagine how pathetic it is to find an athlete who doesn't take drugs? They throw away their whole life running laps just to be 4th place? If you're going to be an athlete, you should at least try to get a gold medal, even if that means taking steroids.

Athletes accomplish nothing and then they die. At least law professors might write some interesting law review articles and educate some students during their lifetime. You might advance an idea that lives outside yourself. You might matter to the world in some small way in the grand scheme of things. Athletes are nothing.

James said...

Matthew said:

Marion Jones IS a heroine, at least in the sports sense (check fraud is something else). Sure, she used drugs, and lied about it, but rather than get caught, she actually had the cajones to admit she lied.

Except she didn't really admit to it, seeing as she is still claiming that at the time, she thought it was flaxseed oil. Because, of course, we all know that flaxseed oil helps you build unnaturally large muscles in an unnaturally short period of time . . . She's using the Barry Bonds excuse. (Lest we forget, Barry also "admitted" to taking the "clear" and also said he thought it was flaxseed oil)

Paco Wové said...

She was a tragedy forged in the making of a heroine...

But with years of struggle, she can bounce back, and become a heroine forged in the makings of tragedy forged in the making of a heroine. So there's hope.

AllenS said...

She'll get a civil service job after she does her time. Or she'll become a pop music critic.

vet66 said...

This sad, and predictable outcome, is more an indictment on our culture and it's devotees, i.e. downtownlad, who emphasize winning over morals, ethics, and a correct system of values.

The logical fallacy of using performance enhancing drugs is the logical extension of the practice. My robot is better than your robot!

The pleasure is in the natural beauty and potential of the human condition. This condition is honored through hard work, discipline, and accountability for one's actions.

Long term success comes from these virtues and not reliance on shady, life-threatening drugs that are little more than shortcuts to hollow success.

Our culture is better than that!

ron st.amant said...

If she's sentenced to jail time, I wonder if she'll receive a Presidential commutation of her sentence?

Ralph said...

"Let Darwin be proved and decrease the surplus population."
Sure, but someone (the taxpayer) has to clean up the mess and pay the bills.

Has anyone mentioned the word "cheating" yet?

bill said...

I believe drug use is incredibly destructive. But people take drugs anyway. Performance enhancing drugs are illegal


Except use of drugs allows many people to live normal lvies or in some instances to just be able to live. And most performance enhancing drugs are not illegal. From steroids to EPO, there are many real-world positive applications. Anyone one of us could easily get a prescription for Human Growth Hormone. Most athletic associations have banned the use of performance enhancing substances.

Marion Jones isn't going to jail for the drugs, she's going to jail for lying to the FBI.

bill said...

Anyone interested in more information on athletes, PEDs, and the drug testing labs should read Trust But Verify. A blog started to follow the Floyd Landis case, it also keeps track of pretty much any athlete and doping allegations.

Speaking of Landis, for an excellent overview of the decision of his arbitration panel, read Serving the Master by William F. Hue, a Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge.

You may think Landis did or did not dope, but it is impossible to know. Not only was the lab incompetent, but the entire review process is broken and unfair.

bill said...

Most athletic associations have banned the use of performance enhancing substances.

Meant to add that does not necessarily make it illegal.

Also what is banned is constantly changing and arbitrary. Athletes have been suspended for using drugs that WADA approved. The Olympic organization has looked into banning hyperbolic chambers as unfair; FIFA is considering banning games played at high altitude stadiums.

Performance enhancing substances are taken for the same reason that athletes eat highly regulated diets, ingest massive amounts of vitamins, or shoot up with aproved painkillers to make it through the game -- to recover quickly and perform at the peak of their abilities. We are rapidily approaching a time when artificial means can be targeted for an athlete's specific genetic makeup and skill. Under proper supervision, there will be no more danger than a handful of vitamins or a can of Coke.

mcg said...

In the 2003 Tour De France, Tyler Hamilton broke his collarbone in the first stage (there are 21) yet managed to finish FOURTH. Hamilton was subsequently suspended from pro cycling for testing positive for illegal substances.

A couple of years ago I crossed paths with a serious Tyler Hamilton fan. Her car was plastered with stickers advertising a pro-Tyler web site. I had no idea who the heck he was until then.

Joe said...
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Joe said...

Disappointing; it was nice watching a stellar athlete who was clean.

I think Landis and Armstrong were also doping. Seriously doping, not just mild stuff. (Though I do wonder if everyone in a sport is doping, doesn't that negate the advantage?)

Daryl said...

she actually had the cajones to admit she lied.

First, it's spelled "cojones"

Second, it means "balls" in Spanish

Third, she only had "cojones" in the sense that she was ingesting testosterone and its equivalents

bill said...

From a letter in Cycling News:

As a professional scientist who has been working in a strict Quality Assurance (QA) environment for the past 27 years, I am continually discouraged by the general public's overall lack of understanding of science and the scientific process. Lest anyone be confused, the Landis decision was not about proving that Floyd had taken exogenous testosterone. What the majority of the panel was concerned with was whether or not the lab had followed the procedures they had established to detect exogenous testosterone. They apparently considered the scientific validity of those procedures to be outside the scope of their investigation, and it was certainly outside their area of expertise.

The unrefuted testimony of Dr. Amory, the only real scientific expert on testosterone to testify, was that those procedures were not adequate to establish the presence of exogenous testosterone. You will note that the majority opinion does not refer to Dr. Amory's testimony - there is no way to reconcile it with the verdict they wanted to reach. So Floyd was found guilty on the basis of one WADA-accredited lab's flawed procedures, procedures that wouldn't even be accepted by other WADA-accredited labs. (For those who have been asleep through this farce, the French lab accepts the presence of elevated levels of a single exogenous testosterone metabolite as evidence of doping, while the US lab at UCLA requires the presence of three.) As Dr. Amory pointed out, exogenous testosterone metabolizes in a defined way, with the levels of metabolites rising and falling through time in a certain pattern. The analyses performed by the French lab of the entire set of Floyd's samples did not show the pattern that would be present if Floyd had, in fact, doped. Dr. Amory's opinion was that they made no sense at all.

Floyd was found guilty through a political process with no basis in science. WADA and the UCI are on a witch hunt, and Floyd was unfortunate enough to fall into their cross-hairs.