Marion Jones in Belize, Considering Retirement

Story written by EPelle

Marion Jones arrived on the island of Belize - previous home to her expatriate mother, Marion Toller - on 7-December to play catch up with family on her mother's side, visit close friends and to give her son, three-year-old Monty, a glimpse into his grandmother's previous homeland. It was also a trip planned to greet her hard-core fans in Belize, and wish them a prosperous new year.

Jones held a short press conference on Wednesday, 14-December at the Belize Chamber of Commerce to greet Belizians for the Christmas season.

The Reporter quotes Jones as stating, “I would just like to wish all Belizeans out there a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year! I also brought my son along with me because he loves his family and this is his first visit. Also, I wanted him to see where his mommy originated from.”

It also quotes Jones as stating that in two years' time, her son will be attending school, and her life's focus will change.

“My son will be attending school in two years time, but this does not mean that I will stop running. I will just have to know how to prioritise my time to drop him off at school and at the same time handle my workout sessions.”

This differs from statements she made during the summer on “Good Morning America” and to The New York Times, indicating she had first planned on retiring after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but the controversy surrounding her leaked “A”-sample positive test at the USATF Championships last June led her to contemplate leaving the sport earlier.

This was to be a holiday away from the discussions of drugs usage, and the bad media air circulating in the United States around BALCO, Justin Gatlin, Tammy Thomas, Barry Bonds and Trevor Graham.

However, Jones has made the timing of her news conference very odd.

Her “A”-sample was released just after Gatlin's camp went public of his testosterone positive.

Thomas receives a USA federal indictment during BALCO/Phase III for lying to the Grand Jury in BALCO/Phase I in stating she had never used performance-enhancing drugs and/or that she did not get illegal drugs from Patrick Arnold.

Jones nearly simultanously - the same day - states she is unsure what direction she will head in 2007, then admits that she is not currently in training, and will work with her family on a position surrounding further competition in the future.

One can imagine the statement was more of a journalist asking at the news conference if Jones had recovered from the leak and has a goal in mind, and Jones having said "not yet". The timing of the question and the answer is odd, however.

In the event that there is more to this sudden sense of not knowing if - and when - she may again compete, it seems to be in connection to Graham's federal indictment, and for Thomas' indictment on perjury and obstruction charges.

“I've moved past it a long time ago,” Jones told the reporters when asked about the BALCO scandal.

However, the media have a long memory, and are pointing the finger back at Jones, who has had her 2003 Grand Jury testimony contradicted under oath by her previous husband, C.J. Hunter III. The U.S. federal government has been working on a long churning process of identifying falsehoods in testimonies - lies, rather - provided to them by athletes under oath in 2003. Jones name has surfaced in media in the United States this past week, and the timing of this news conference in front of friendly, non-hostile “friends” is suspect.

Hunter, as you know - along with Victor Conte, both stated that Marion Jones took performance-enhancing drugs back when the BALCO era ushered in sneaky relevations of athletes gone bad and scientists there to cover-up for them. Jones has vehemently denied on all possible occasion that she has never taken performance-enhancing drugs.

She kept up this game plan until she was broken down in Zürich in August.

Then she fell off the face of the earth, was nowhere to be found, and let out a simple statement through her attorney that she was going to get to the bottom of that leaked result, a positive "A"-test for EPO. She remained silent until the "B"-sample could not provide positive confirmation of the "A"-sample, then let out a few words about being ecstatic. From there she appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" with Robin Roberts.

“I hope really that this whole situation with me is used as a catalyst, a catalyst for more research and testing, a catalyst for better confidentiality,” she said.

“I was just totally devastated that a mistake like this can happen. I’ve always said and I will continue to say I believe in a drug-free sport. I have never, ever taken a performance-enhancing drug. I am just quite pleased, happy, ecstatic that this ‘B’ sample proves that I have never taken a drug.”

She had then decided to attempt competing in Athens for the World Cup team, but backed out near the start of the two-day meet citing lack of training.

From there life for Marion Jones has been rather secretive sans the report in The New York Times in which Jones stated she was unclear where she would head in the future.

Perhaps she should heed to the advice Michael Johnson provided in a column in the Telegraph upon learning of the "A"-sample positive:

“I don't believe Jones will ever be able to repair her image or get back to the type of performances that made her one of the highest profile women athletes in the world. There has been far too much damage done to her reputation due to, if nothing else, the people she has surrounded herself with the last several years – some of whom have been involved in some of the largest drug scandals in the sport.

“Jones also has passed her prime as an athlete and lost several good years dealing with these scandals and allegations which have surely made it difficult to focus.

“For the sake of her own well-being, and the sake of the sport, it would be best if Jones just went away quietly to raise her son.”

At this point in time, she appears to be giving that more consideration than competing again in the stars and stripes of her home country, the USA. She would be unable to compete for Belize for three years had she considered it due to IAAF rules on nation-switching borne from the great Kenyan escapes to Qatar and Bahrain.

Perhaps Jones may know more than we do in terms of what the next couple of years may hold. The finger-pointing may turn into an indictment, which, in its turn may boil into a possible prison sentence.

Or perhaps all of this is just one long, drawn-out sick game two people are playing to get revenge for deals gone bad.

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