Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Marion Jones appears on Oprah Winfrey’s show, talks about prison

CHICAGO (AP) — Marion Jones said Wednesday seeing the pain her
family and friends endured after she admitted using
performance-enhancing drugs outweighed the impact of returning her
Olympic medals.

The former Olympic track gold medalist appeared on “The Oprah
Winfrey Show,” her first television interview since being
sentenced last week to six months in prison for lying to
investigators about steroid use and a check-fraud scam.

“I want people to understand that, you know, everybody makes
mistakes. ... I truly think that a person’s character is determined
by their admission of their mistakes and then beyond that, what do
I do about it?” Jones said via satellite from Austin, Texas, where
she lives. “How can I change the lives of people? How can I use my
story to change the life of a young person?”

Once the most celebrated female athlete in the world, Jones won
three gold and two bronze medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

After long denying she ever had used performance-enhancing
drugs, Jones admitted last October she lied to federal
investigators in November 2003, acknowledging she took the designer
steroid “the clear” from September 2000 to July 2001. “The
clear” has been linked to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative,
the lab at the center of the steroids scandal in professional

Winfrey pressed Jones on the repeated, impassioned denials she
made over the years. “You knew at that time, you knew were lying,
right?” Winfrey said.

“I made a mistake. I made the choice, at that time, to protect
myself, to protect my family,” Jones said. “And now I’ve paid the
consequences dearly.”

Jones said she hasn’t told her 4-year-old son yet that she’s
going to prison. She also has a younger son. She has until March 11
to surrender.

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