Marion Jones discusses life after steroids scandal
HOUSTON With a new book and a mission, she is taking her message across the country. We sat down with the athlete who says while she lost it all, she gained something along the way. Jones has competed in some of the biggest stadiums in the world, but the audience in downtown Houston is the largest to hear her speak. "I'm in the process of healing; I'm in the process of forgiving myself," Jones said to her audience. So who is Marion Jones? "She's a woman, and I hate to talk in the third person, but she's a woman who is at peace," Jones said. At peace in Texas, she now calls Austin home. But today life for the former sprinter is more about endurance. "You wish that you could realize things earlier in your life because it would put you on the correct path," she said. Jones is now on a road to redemption, trying to win the trust back from her fans and inspire people of all walks of life along the way. Her inspiration to win gold came during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. "I knew I wanted to experience, I wanted to feel whatever they were feeling when they crossed the line," she said. And she did, winning five medals in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, the most of any woman. Jones was on top of the world gracing magazine covers and receiving big endorsement deals. Then came the allegations of steroid use, which she denied. "Then slowly my life became a train wreck," she said in front of her audience. "I went from media darling, earning a seven-figure income to being pursued by federal investigators." And she lied to those investigators. "Many people today believe had you not taken steroids, you still would've won a gold medal. Why?" we asked Jones. "Well, the question is a legitimate one in that people need to understand a certain background. People need to understand relationships that you form with people could ultimately cause you a lot of pain, especially if you're not careful with whom you decide to put your trust in, and that was one of the things that I wish I could go back and change," she said. "You wish you could questions; I unfortunately was naïve. I don't like to use that as an excuse but we're young." To her family, and her country outside a New York court room in 2007, she apologized. "I want you to know that I have been dishonest and you have the right to be angry with me," she said back then. What was her lowest point? "There are a few. The low point for me was certainly when I was incarcerated; I spent over 45 days in solitary confinement. I missed my kids' birthdays," she said. The mother of three says she considers that time a blessing; those days gave her time to figure out who she is and where she is going. "I had a lot of time on my hands to really reflect on who I was, who I wanted to become, how I wanted to make everything that I had done wrong, right," she said. Fans had the chance for Jones to autograph her new book "On the Right Track," which takes readers on a journey from the glory days on the track to the dark days in the courtroom and prison cell. At the age of 35, Jones, who hadn't played basketball in 13 years since her days at the University of North Carolina, got the chance to return to athletics in the WNBA. "It has given me a bigger stage to inspire, and it has allowed me to fulfill a lifelong dream, which is to play professional women's basketball," she said. And while she does not know how long she will be back on the court, she has other athletic ambitions, possibly an Ironman and says her life's legacy is far from complete. "I want people to, you know they'll know the story, but they'll know that it's not a period after they see this interview," she said. "I want them to see that it's a dot, dot, dot -- that life goes on after you make mistakes."
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