Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones: Vol. 52

Story by Eric.

This is the 52nd submission in a long series about Marion Jones, a former elite sprinter who won (stole) honour and earned (stole) endorsements, fame and fortune by method of fraud.

This story is being told in its entirety, because Marion Jones is unable to do it herself. Though parts of this story may be historical in nature, they are of essense to the sum of the whole insofar as they tell a story of a woman who is more complicit in the BALCO affairs and her own drug-taking than she has led on.

Marion Jones’s attorneys steadfastly concluded that the word of a cheat should not be weighed against a person who had passed a polygraph test (conducted by a former FBI Agent, Ronald Homer, who according to his the FindLaw website, conducted 1076 polygraph examinations during career with the FBI, including examinations throughout the United States and foreign countries. Investigative and polygraph matters included highly sensitive foreign counterintelligence, white-collar crime and all matters of criminal investigations.), and had never tested positive. They deduced that a “liar” cannot–and never will–tell the truth.

What Marion Jones’s counsel did not state was that the accuracy of polygraph tests has been disputed; several well-known cases demonstrating polygraphs–which measure increases in stress during questioning–demonstrates that polygraph testing can be misinterpreted.

Marion Jones passed polygraph tests.

Montgomery was found guilty of doping offences – though he had never failed a drugs test–by the testimony of a cheat, Kelli White, and from the evidence provided by a crook, Victor Conte. His truthful statements made under oath by himself–not being charged or found to be a court-proven liar–also nabbed him.

A cheat, at least in the eyes of the prosecuting body seeking penalty against Montgomery, was seen as an being an instrumental informant.

White’s evidence, as outlined verbatim from the CAS verdict, follows:

According Ms. White's evidence, in March 2001, while at an international meet in Portugal (no exact date was provided by the witness) she and Mr. Montgomery had "a small discussion about whether or not the Clear made our calves tight." Mr. Montgomery asked Ms. White, "Does it make your calves tight?" Ms. White responded in the affirmative. Mr. Montgomery, still in her presence, then placed a telephone call to someone who may or may not have been Mr. Conte (Ms. White believes that it was Mr. Conte) to whom he relayed the information that "she said that it makes her calves tight too". According to Ms. White, there was not the slightest doubt as to the substance about which she and Mr. Montgomery were speaking and which they both acknowledged had the effect of making their calves tight’ they were talking about the Clear.

It is essential to note that this evidence of what USADA claims constitutes a direct admission of Mr. Montgomery's guilt, is uncontroverted.

Counsel for Respondent may have questioned Ms. White's motives in offering her testimony concerning Mr. Montgomery's use of the Clear and, more generally, his relationship with BALCO. They may have sought (without success) to impugn her honesty and to draw attention to the witness' own history of involvement with BALCO and her efforts to conceal that involvement. However, the Panel has already declared its finding with respect to Ms. White's credibility as a witness in these proceedings and its view that she is telling the truth.

What counsel for Mr. Montgomery did not do was in any way undermine Ms. White’s evidence regarding her conversation with Mr. Montgomery in March 2001. The evidence of that conversation, which the Panel considers to be clear and compelling, thus stands uncontroverted. It is also, as indicated above, sufficient in and of itself to find Respondent guilty of doping.[1]

Marion Jones should not shed blood for Tim Montgomery’s misdeeds. He, himself, testified under oath of his wrongdoings.

However, was Tim Montgomery adept enough to wear such a hardened game-face with Marion Jones–who unequivocally asserted Montgomery’s innocence–that he was able to hold a top secret agenda from her, but let his entire career and relationship slip by talking to an associate about his drug cheating? Was Tim Montgomery sleek enough to lure Marion Jones away from Trevor Graham, and into the waiting hands of a crooked steroids chemist? Is there any compelling reason that Montgomery–who is not known to have taken his mid-November 2000 trip to the BALCO laboratories in Burlingame, CA with Marion Jones–should shield Marion Jones from his drugs usage, but yield to the temptation to discuss it with one of her 100m competitors, a person with whom he has no relationship?

Montgomery, citing Conte, made an inference under oath that Marion Jones used the clear, and had done so in Sydney.

Marion Jones, on her athletics deathbed, confessed of having taken “the clear”.

Montgomery, himself, stated Marion Jones had a working relationship with Conte during the Sydney Olympic Games. Conte, on his own accord, stated he provided Marion Jones performance-enhancing substances, a fact which Montgomery backed up during his Grand Jury testimony.

Those supporting Marion Jones’s ignorance claim had a hard time explaining away such connections between her and steroids pushers.

Marion Jones’s attorney on record during the Grand Jury hearings, Richard Burton, not commenting on the drugs inference, stated that Montgomery’s claims supported their stance that Marion Jones had no connection to Victor Conte–though Montgomery claimed Conte as stating that Marion Jones would fare well in Sydney due to “the clear”.

This was the magic potion,” Montgomery told the Grand Jury.

Montgomery quoted Conte as saying, “Watch the 100 meters. Watch what Chryste gonna do. Watch what Alvin going to do in the 400. And watch what Marion going to do. ... You will see how powerful it is.”

Montgomery was not asked if Jones had used banned substances.[2]

Montgomery’s last statement above, “And watch what Marion going to do. ... You will see how powerful it is”, infers three things: 1) Marion Jones was going to do something. 2) Something, an aid, was going to be used in conjunction with her performing. 3) That object or aid was going to be powerful.

Marion Jones did do something in Sydney. She accomplished those feats with an aid, and it was powerful–just as Montgomery had indicated.

Montgomery’s admission above is that “the clear” was powerful, and sprinters Chryste Gaines and Alvin Harrison would demonstrate on the track the persuasive effects “the clear” had. Montgomery also adds that Conte stated Marion Jones should also be hugely regarded; one should also expect–in addition to what Gaines and Harrison did, two athletes who, shortly thereafter, were suspended for drugs usage–that Marion Jones would demonstrate a significant level of power from the drug named “the clear”.

Conte, himself, put life to those statements in his own words:

We'd had a lot of success since the previous August, after I'd arranged for her to receive various performance enhancers, including The Clear, a steroid that later became famous as THG, and nutritional supplements. She was on all of it at the 2000 Games in Sydney, when she won three gold medals and two bronzes. I tell you this knowing Marion passed a lie detector test saying it's not true. All that shows me is lie detectors don't work.[3]

Montgomery had, two years following the Olympic Games–during an IAAF press conference leading up to the 2002 World Cup in Madrid, stated he knew, factually speaking–without a reasonable doubt, and in no uncertain terms–that Marion Jones, his partner, would break the world record:

I read and study an awful lot about the sport and I know for a fact that Marion Jones will break the women’s World Record. My prediction for the weekend is that she will better her personal best.[4]

One may take Montgomery’s words with a grain of salt–as if comparing what he stated to that of the heavyweight champion of the world making bold predictions in a pre-bout press conference what round he’d knock out his opponent. One could also take into consideration that perhaps the weather, wind and bird-chirping were all aligned up exactly as Marion Jones had imagined they would the day she’d break the world record (as stated to The New York Times).

However, to the contrary, one can couple Montgomery’s “Project World Record”, with a man unable to keep his mouth closed. He proved to be a person who didn’t keep a lid on his secrets.

Montgomery has already demonstrated that his mouth ran at a faster rate of speed than did his feet – or at least was unable to stay in the blocks when the gun was raised, a man with a red flag stood behind him, and the entire world was looking on. He has false-started on a grand occasion–costing him his personal best time, each placing he had earned during his cheating run, his world record, and his credibility.

Tim Montgomery reacted to gunfire in 0,104 seconds Saturday afternoon, the 14th day of September 2002, and powered his legs 100m down a red all-weather track with white lane dividers in Paris in 9,78 seconds–the fastest time any human being should ever legally have legally run at that point in history. It was a new world and American record, eclipsing 0,01 seconds from countryman and rival, Maurice Greene’s 9,79 personal best. Montgomery’s reaction to the gun was just under the allowable, and the wind, +2,0 metres/second, was at the limit for record purposes.

(Note: Jamaican Usain Bolt, a 200m specialist, lowered the 100m world record down to 9,69 in the Olympic final in Beijing in August in his first year contesting the distance).

Montgomery earned $100.000 for his victory–the final race in the IAAF Grand Prix series, $50.000 for winning the race, and $100.000 for setting the world record. Hicham El Guerrouj, the 1.500m, mile, 2.000m and multiple world champion, had run 3.29,27–a championship record which propelled him temporarily into the lead over hurdler Felix Sanchez, but he was denied the grand prix title due to Montgomery’s world-record victory race.

El Guerrouj finished 12-0 on the season in eight 1.500m races (six which were under 3.30) and four mile races. It was the second-consecutive year El Guerrouj had gone undefeated.

Marion Jones ran 10,90 into a -0,3 m/s that weekend for the victory, far from her 10,65-second personal best time.

Marion Jones stood side-by-side with her boyfriend that afternoon, sharing the excitement of his victory, his joy and his record time, while winning the overall Grand Prix title, herself. She stated in an interview after Montgomery’s race that he was a technician who stayed up hours reviewing his races, and that Montgomery was often overlooked on the international scene.

He would forever be remembered, never to be disassociated with being a deceptive young man.

Montgomery had, according to ESPN The Magazine, stated during an honorary meeting in his name in his hometown following his world record, “of all the bodies made by God, this is the fastest in history". Montgomery mustered up enough public game face to disguise his back-door issues.

ESPN The Magazine states that a journalist in the press area after the race in Paris asked Montgomery if he had watched the Ben Johnson world record in Seoul.

Marion Jones read between the lines and snapped at the journalist, stating that neither she–nor he–had been dependent on drugs to advance their careers, and any reference to drugs would overshadow his accomplishment.

It's unfortunate that you have such an incredible performance and someone will immediately suspect something, she said. “We're all quite aware that we are proponents of a drug-free sport, so let's keep it at that.[5]

No, Ms. Jones, let’s not keep it at that.

Let’s actually go a step further.

The United States Attorney Southern District of New York, on 2006-April-28, published an important document for immediate release:


According to the public record, Tim Montgomery, along with Marion Jones’s latest coach, Steve Riddick, and her agent, Charles Wells, were charged with participating in conspiracy to defraud numerous banks by depositing into accounts at those banks stolen, altered and counterfeit checks, as well as proceeds from such checks – totalling approximately $5 million, and to then launder the proceeds from these checks through their various accounts.

Marion Jones was complicit to a degree of not alerting Federal investigators of having had knowledge of one of the checks deposited into her account and committed a felony by perjuring herself in the matter.

Montgomery was ultimately sent to prison for 46 months for his involvement in the illegal scheme, and was ordered to pay the bank from which he stole the money $375.000. He was also sentenced to five-years’ probation.

Wells, who received a six-month home confinement sentence, subsequently had his agent status suspended by USATF for two years (dated to 2007-March-22), though the national governing body has no jurisdiction to require athletes to sign specifically with registered agents. The downturn for any athlete who is represented by Wells during his suspension is that the athlete could be refused entry into certain invitational meetings.

Montgomery turned himself in to authorities in Norfolk after a Federal agent called to alert him of the indictment. He was released on a $10.000 bond after appearing in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, VA, but was back in prison during sentencing due to an unrelated drugs case (next entry in this series).

Trial was to begin on Tuesday, 2007-April-10 at the Federal Courthouse in Manhattan, but Montgomery pleaded guilty the day before the trial to charges stemming from his deposit of bad checks worth $1.800.000, a judge's law clerk said (U.S. v. Douglas Shyne, 05-cr-1067 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District). He was sentenced on 2008-May-16.


[1] CAS 2004/O/645, 2005-12-13
[2] San Francisco Chronicle, “Sprinter admitted use of BALCO 'magic potion'”, 2004-06-24
[3] ESPN The Magazine, “Last Laugh,” 2004-12-20
[4] IAAF Madrid 2002 News, 2002-09-19
[5] ESPN The Magazine, “Nowhere to run”, 2005-06-07
[6] U.S. Attorney’s Office, Public Information Office, 2006-04-28

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