Jones' career in ruins after she admits drug use

By NEIL WILSON

Last updated at 16:20 06 October 2007


The glorious Olympic career of

three-time gold medallist Marion

Jones lay in shameful tatters last

night after she finally admitted that

she was taking a performance-enhancing

drug at the height of her

fame.

Her personal downfall though is of

little consequence beside the

massive damage done to the

reputation of her sport and the

chaos in which it finds itself after

three years of exposure of its

greatest champions as cheats.

Marion Jones

The International Olympic

Committee made clear the

sprinter would be stripped of five

medals from the 2000 Games in

Sydney even before Jones had

stepped into the dock at a

U.S. District Court in White

Plains, New York, last

night to plead guilty to

lying about her steroid

use.

The IOC spoke out

immediately after a

letter Jones

sent to family and

friends was

published in full

in newspapers

in the United

States.

In it, she

warned them of her guilty

plea on two counts of lying to

federal agents and revealed

she had taken the steroid THG,

the same performanceenhancing

drug known as 'the

Clear' which led British

sprinter Dwain Chambers to

be banned.

Jones reveals in her letter

that she faces up to six

months in jail when she is

sentenced in January but

that will be nothing to the

time the IOC and the IAAF will

need to sort out the mess of

her making.

Jones will lose five Olympic

medals from 2000, three of

them gold, and five more from the

World Championships in 1999 and

2001.

That is the period in which she

admits taking drops of a substance

her coach Trevor Graham told her

was a nutritional supplement

containing flaxseed oil.

Awarding those medals to athletes

she beat is not as simple as it would

usually be. The greatest beneficiary

would be Katerina Thanou, a Greek

banned for two years when she infamously refused to be drug

tested on several occasions

immediately before the 2004

Olympics in Athens.

Thanou would gain an Olympic gold

because she finished second behind

Jones in the 100metres in Sydney, a

silver from the 100m at the 1999

World Championships and gold

from the 100m at the 2001

World Championships. The

sporting authorities may

balk at that.

She would not be the only

banned athlete to

benefit. American

Kelli White, who

confessed to taking

the same drug

Jones has and

retired after

being banned

for two years in

2004, would be

promoted to

silver medallist

in the 100m at the 2001

World Championships.

And adding to the

quandaries may be the

confusion over who

should gain and lose

medals from the three

relays in which Jones

featured, some of them

also subsequently

unmasked as drug cheats.

Jones's former coach

Graham goes on trial

later this month on

similar charges of lying to

federal authorities.

It was

he who first exposed the

production of 'the Clear' by

the BALCO laboratory in

California because of his rivalry

with Remi Korchemny, coach to

White and Chambers, and he may

name more cheats in court.

Jones said in her letter that she

would plead guilty on two counts of

lying to federal agents, the first in

denying ever taking performanceenhancing

drugs and the other of

ever seeing a cheque given her by

Montgomery which became part of

a fraud and forgery case.

Montgomery, another of her

former coaches, Steve Riddick, and

her agent, Charlie Wells, are all

indicted in that case.

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