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#439348 - 05/31/12 01:53 PM Marion Jones speaks candidly
Marty Offline

Marion Jones

Former Olympic champion, Marion Jones is the first and only Belizean to win Olympic medals, not one but five. She gained international prominence after winning the medals at the Sydney Olympics in the year 2000. When she crossed the finishing line she raised the Belize flag; she captured the love of the nation and the national stadium was named after her. But she fell from grace in 2007 and had to hand back her medals when a scandal erupted over her use of performance enhancing drugs. Jones initially misled a grand jury about the doping, but eventually confessed and was sentenced to six months in prison for perjury in 2008. In a one on one interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Jones opened up about the dramatic change in her life; going from a lauded athlete to a convicted felon and the experience in prison that followed.

Piers Morgan

“Your husband drives you in 2008 to this prison and you get dropped off and you walk in and they take you a cell and the door shuts. What are you thinking?”

Marion Jones, Former Olympic Athlete

“Like how did this happen? How in the world is my worst nightmare actually happening?”

Piers Morgan

“You’d gone from eighty thousand dollars a race—I don’t know how much that is per inch but it’s a lot right and suddenly you’re in this tiny cell and you’re a felon.”

Marion Jones

“I think to put things in perspective, when I was a child I used to always want so bad for my name to be written in the paper, for my accomplishments of course and my reality now is sometimes I don’t want it written in the paper and sometimes it’s tough being a celebrity because when I walk into prison, unlike most people who go to prison—I’ll tell you cause I don’t think you have any history in that—most people go unknown. I walked in and everybody knew who I was; there helicopters circling, there were photographers trying to jump the fence to get that picture, I walked past the TV room where the inmates watch television and my story was being played. I was there for almost six months and there were nights that were extremely hard, missing my family.”

Piers Morgan

“Your kids went to stay with your family in Barbados.”

Marion Jones

“Correct.”

Piers Morgan

“So they were protected in a sense.”

Marion Jones

“Yeah.”

Piers Morgan

“But you weren’t though; you were on your own there.”

Marion Jones

“Right and I think some of these women would come up and they had been in there for ten, fifteen years and they hadn’t had a visit or a letter from a family member. And so at night, when sometimes I would cry and I would just be in this deep, deep place and I would say you know what Marion, why are you acting like this when the woman down the hall has been here over a decade and she has no family that’s interested in her?”

Channel 5


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#439349 - 05/31/12 01:54 PM Re: Marion Jones speaks candidly [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Marion Jones talks about prison and family

Prison life was not easy, but Jones says the hardest part was being away from her family, particularly her sons, who were toddlers at the time of her imprisonment.

 

Piers Morgan

“What was the single worst moment for you of the whole thing when you look back?”

 

Marion Jones

“The single worst moment was sitting in solitary confinement on my boys’ birthdays and not getting a chance to talk to them or hold them or hug them and knowing—people might be surprised by that. It wasn’t having to give back my medals, it wasn’t the scandal; it wasn’t all that. It was not—it was, I think, disappointing the ones that loved me and cared for me and supported me and cheered me on, knowing that I hurt them. That to me is the single—and it’s what I deal with everyday, that doesn’t go away and I…”

 

Piers Morgan

“How have you dealt with that? I mean, I’ve got four kids and I can’t even imagine how you, as a mother, confronts such a thing. Your two kids were pretty young at that time right?”

 

Marion Jones

Marion Jones

“Yeah, one was turning one and one was turning four.”

 

Piers Morgan

“Right, so too young to really understand so I mean even now, are they aware of what happened to you?”

 

Marion Jones

“No, they’re not aware. I mean we’ve been pretty open with my oldest, who is eight years old and sharing with him certain things. But they have—they don’t really understand. We plan to certainly be—when we feel like they’re ready—share certain things with them and share the story with them but in my household, we teach our kids that we all make mistakes like mommy makes mistakes and I’m not an exception. But it’s what you do after the mistake; do you try and cover it up? I made the unfortunate choice to try and cover it up and I made things a lot worse. So do you cover it up and get mom and dad really upset with you or do you come and tell us what you did, we deal with it and we move on. So when I talk with young people now, that’s what I tell them; “hey ok, you’re going to make mistakes, be prepared. But do the right thing after.”

 

At the end of her trial in 2008, Jones and her attorneys had pleaded with Judge Kenneth Karas not to send her to prison and separate her from her sons. But the judge imposed the sentence, saying that athletes serve as role models to children around the world and letting Jones off easily would have sent all the wrong messages.

Channel 5


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