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Saturday, October 6, 2007

About Marion Jones: Nothing Good to Say About Cheating Olympian

What good is there to say about Marion Jones? Nothing. She's the liar and cheat who stole a small treasure of gold medals from track and field athletes by doping on steroids.

More deserving women, the honest ones who trained hard with sweat and pain, only to have Marion Jones run a drug-enhanced faster speed, are left with a strange reality.

Someone will get Jones' ill-gotten medals. Whomever was in second place, I suppose, then they'll pass their silver medal to the third place runner, and the fourth place runner will receive a bronze. All anti-climatic at this point.

What has been stolen is more than a medal. When, in 1984, I watched the Olympics, I thought how cool it would be to stand on a podium while my country's anthem played. I'd think as every athlete must think, "This is why it mattered." Well, I was far to slow to do more than dream, but Marion Jones, in the next generation of athletes was naturally fast enough for it to be plausible. She likely trained hard, and when the time came to do the right thing, or to be unethical, she made the wrong choice.

A gold medal is not silver.
Granted, any medal is a cool thing, but a gold medal has a special cache. It means on the day, the best in the world. Marion Jones got to hear my anthem, and her anthem -- we're both Americans here -- and wow! This feeling cannot be handed over like a medal. Nor can the loss of sponsor money. Nor whatever decisions needed to be made as a result.

Marion Jones made the East German and Russian women of the 1970s look like stand-up classy dames. She will live the rest of her life watching the Olympics realizing she threw away her integrity.

Interesting article on Marion Jones scandal includes the chart below.

MEDAL UPGRADE

By admitting to steroid use during competition at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Marion Jones could forfeit the gold medals she won in the 100 and 200 meters and 4x400 relay. (She also won bronze in the 4x100 and the long jump). Silver medalists who could now become gold:

100 meters: Katerina Thanou*, Greece

200 meters: Pauline Davis-Thompson, Bahamas

4x400 relay: Jamaica (Sandra Richards, Catherine Scott-Pomales, Deon Hemmings, Lorraine Graham)

*Thanou has a drug case pending from 2004.
Marion Jones drags others into selfish, steroid mess
New York Daily News

This is what I remember most about Marion Jones. It was August 2004, in Athens, and a bunch of young American women were favored to win the gold medal in the 4x100-meter Olympic relay.

Marion Jones pleads guilty to lying about steroid use Los Angeles Times

IOC expected to swiftly strip Jones of medals Reuters

Seattle Times - Houston Chronicle - Reuters Canada

all 2,250 news articles »

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