Marion Jones makes comeback with new book
Posted October 27, 2010
Updated October 28, 2010
Chapel Hill, N.C. — Former Olympic gold medalist and University of North Carolina track star Marion Jones is speaking out in a new autobiography about being a star athlete and the performance-enhancing drugs that ultimately led to the end of her track and field career.
“On the Right Track,” which was released Tuesday, chronicles her life since pleading guilty in October 2007 to lying to federal investigators looking into drug use among athletes.
In December 2007, the International Olympic Committee stripped her of her three gold and two bronze medals that she won at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
She served a six-month prison sentence in 2008 – during which she spent more than a month in solitary confinement after fighting another inmate – and has since returned to sports, most recently playing with the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock.
"The most important thing I learned was how important faith is, how important it is to hold on to something, when literally there is nothing but walls around you,” the 35-year-old wife and mother of three said Wednesday.
“I’ve been able to go through all that, and now I’m heading back up the ladder toward success,” Jones said.
Jones publicly denied for years that she used steroids, but she maintains in her book that she didn’t realize that she was taking performance-enhancing drugs.
“Yes, I took a performance-enhancing drug, and I can’t go back and undo any of it,” she writes. “What happened, happened. I’m not holding anyone responsible for the fact that I’m the one who put it in my body. … Nobody forced me.”
Jones, who was a freshman guard on UNC’s 1994 NCAA championship women’s basketball team, spent Wednesday at her alma mater, speaking to the current team about the lessons she’s learned.
“I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve come home, and I want to help people not make the same mistakes in their lives,” she said.
"It's not easy for me to wake up sometimes, knowing that I've disappointed so many people and that I've hurt so many people,” Jones added. “What I regret the most is not holding onto the values that I learned here at Carolina.”
Jones is also the subject of an upcoming ESPN 30 documentary, “Marion Jones: Press Pause,” which is scheduled to air Nov. 2 at 8 p.m.