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.
“What was the single worst moment for you of the whole thing when you look back?”
“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…”
“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?”
“Yeah, one was turning one and one was turning four.”
“Right, so too young to really understand so I mean even now, are they aware of what happened to you?”
“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.