Pandora’s Box: October 5-6, 2007
“A Tarnished Golden Girl Can’t Outrun the Truth,” was the headline of Harvey Araton’s October 5, 2007 story in The New York Times detailing the sleazy odyssey of 2000 Olympic runner Marion Jones. She won three gold and two bronze medals in Sydney and was dogged for years with questions about the use of performance-enhancing steroids—charges that she forcefully denied.
In a federal courtroom in White Plains, New York, last Friday, Jones admitted ingesting the steroid, Tetrahydrogestrinone, known as “The Clear” because it was undetectable to the testing technology of the time.
The designer drug was developed by BALCO, the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, founded by Victor Conte, Jr., a former bass guitar player who copped a plea with the feds on charges of distributing steroids and check laundering. He spent four months in jail and four more under house arrest.
“Is Marion Jones a bad person?” Victor Conte said to the Times’ Harvey Araton in a telephone interview. “No. Marion made mistakes. The pain and suffering she is about to endure in public is going to be devastating to her.”
Sorry, Victor. One word describes Marion Jones: despicable. As a result of her Olympic triumph, she commanded $20,000 for a speaking appearance, up to $80,000 for a race and reportedly made millions in product endorsements. For seven years she lied to the press and to the public about her drug use, and finally lied to a federal grand jury.
Her whiny mea culpa and plea for forgiveness in front of the mobbed courthouse plaza last Friday will not make it right for the 11 defeated athletes she screwed out of Olympic medals (eight in two relay races plus the three she beat in the 100m, 200m and Long Jump).
It is expected that Jones will be sentenced to six months in the pokey and will likely be liable for huge legal bills and restitution of the money she collected for speaking and product endorsements. It was announced today that her Olympic medals have been returned and that her Olympic relay teammates will be stripped of theirs.