Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones: Vol. 19

Story by Eric.

(This is the 19th part of a long series titled, "Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones". This series depicts the life and times of a (former) woman sprinter whose lies and cover-ups about doping in sport continue even through this day.)

Marion Jones was a person of good repute, she stated, and had always maintained that she was for a drug-free sport. Because she was a decorated Olympic athlete, the public was never to make any connections or inferences between her “mistakes” with her ex-husband or the father of her child.

Marion Jones’s having acknowledged her having been a decorated Olympic athlete by method of fraud altered that, however, and changed her from being a person of good repute to one of sullen reputation and bad character. Her fevering pitches of being for a drug-free sport were meant for her competitors, not Marion Jones, herself.

If you, having fought for your rightful existence in a sport which pays handsomely for good marks and championship titles, amassed a certain amount of wealth and became prosperous to the point that you could purchase items at will and support others without regard to repayment, and you became accustomed to this lifestyle – which put you in a prestigious neighbourhood with one of the world’s most-recognised persons, one day became so poor that you lost all of your life’s treasures in one fell swoop, would you not also feel defeated and heavily burdened by that occurrence?

Would you, knowing that your home was being taken from you – and you had no legal recourse by which to prohibit the action, not feel burdened with a weight of shock and tremendous pressure that you’d want to hide and wait for a Plan-“B”? Would you not feel severely angry inside for having to uproot your mother from a house you purchased, because you, apparently having no other monetary means, had to pay the bills?

I’m not suggesting that Marion Jones should feel more shock and awe over one event instead of another, and I am not asking you to play psychologist here, either. I simply ask which story you are able to better relate to in terms of putting yourself in either of the situations and imagining which would cause you the greater emotional pain.

Would you agree that Marion Jones had financial difficulty prior to the “A”-sample release date? Her legal history – foreclosure, more specifically – would be a well-documented evidence of what condition, financially, she was in prior to that “A”-sample date of revelation, would it not?

A glimmer of hope for Marion Jones (and Montgomery) was to have been a coaching change from Francis to Dan Pfaff – a move which seemed could benefit both her and Montgomery, and one which appeared to be good guidance for Marion Jones whose ability to run fast could not compensate for her inability to jump. Pfaff had guided 33 Olympic athletes and 29 NCAA individual national champions at The University of Texas, Texas El Paso, Louisiana State University and the University of Florida in 30 years of coaching.

What significance does Pfaff play in this? Timing, in this sport is everything, and Pfaff had legal issues with Marion Jones in 2006 – the same year as her EPO test, and the same year as her foreclosures.

Those taking a harder look into the glass box Marion Jones was living in were more sceptical of the arrangement, believing Marion Jones to have had merely used Pfaff as an image-enhancer following her time with Graham and brush with Francis.

They both signed five-year contracts for $500.000 each – a $1.000.000 investment in their future developments, and Pfaff left the University of Texas in July 2003 to immediately begin training Montgomery, with Marion Jones to be taken under his wings in Raleigh in September 2003.

Pfaff had been viewed as a great technician – a key element in a trainer and advisor which drew Marion Jones to both Trevor Graham and to Charlie Francis.

“My forte over the years has been taking older athletes who come with a suitcase load of injuries, and maybe some confidence issues, and resurrect them,” Pfaff said.

However, as had been the case with every single, solitary man in Marion Jones’s athletics life, she had a falling-out, the relationship with Pfaff soured in the end of 2003, and the ensuing result was a lawsuit Marion Jones initiated against Pfaff.

Dan Pfaff – the coach of 30 previous Olympians – had been called ineffective, insofar as his coaching “adversely affected” her performances and livelihood due to a lack of training regime, she stated. Marion Jones wanted no part of his sprinting education, and, after her Athens Olympic Games qualifying in the long jump, she fired him, citing breach of contract whereby Pfaff is stated to have disclosed to Nike, Marion Jones’s chief sponsor, confidential information meant to undermine the contract. Breach of contract inherently implies that Marion Jones suffered economic loss as a result of Pfaff’s actions, and was seeking damages as a result of that breach.

Pfaff countered the Marion Jones claim of “adversely affect[ing]” him by stating that they frustrated his efforts by refusing to submit to blood work and other health tests – comments which garnered no wrath from the Marion Jones camp. Montgomery, who also stated nothing publicly about Pfaff’s claims, eventually went down with the initial BALCO investigations – held during the time he was under Pfaff’s guidance. His on-going counter suit seeks to claim $240.000 in unpaid training fees and legal expenses owed him by Marion Jones, who is completely broke, she claims.

Pfaff's attorney, Edmund “Skip” Davis, said: “Their technicality is just as frivolous as their original claim that Dan's coaching was inadequate. She ought to just come around and do the right thing -- pay the coach. As far as I'm concerned, Marion's word is no good.”

As far as others were concerned along the path of her career – and having now gained in support from others – her word is no good anywhere at all.

What has taken me pages on end to express in both subtle and very direct, conclusive ways, Pfaff’s attorney came right out, point-blank – with no warning: Marion Jones is not to be trusted.

Marion Jones ensured she should never be trusted when she confessed to having been a cheat, though the evidences in this series will have helped you convict her long before her deliverance of that pre-meditated speech.

The Pfaff lawsuit, which his attorneys filed against Marion Jones (MLJ & Associates Inc. c/o Marion Jones) on 2006-March-24 (as case No. DC-06-02956, Dallas 14th District Court), opened the contents of Marion Jones’s personal wallet to the public, as her financial state of affairs were described by Marion Jones in a 168-page deposition she filed in Dallas against Pfaff.
Judicial Officer Mary Murphy presided over the lawsuit and awarded the first judgment in Pfaff’s favour was on 2006-July-18 (Volume/Book 366A, Page 227, 2 pages). Marion Jones’s attorneys appealed the $240.000 awarded to Pfaff for contractual training fees and legal expenses.

The Los Angeles Times printed a compelling story hinting at the nature of the countersuit and disclosed that Marion Jones was near “broke”.

“You made some good money. Where did that money go?” asked a skeptical Pfaff attorney, Eric Little.

“Who knows? I wish I knew. Bills, attorney bills, a lot of different things to maintain the lifestyle,” Jones said.

A review of the Wake County Property Tax Billing/Collections records makes it easier for one to see how some of the “things to maintain the lifestyle” monies were spent:

• 2006 AUDI 4S, 52.940:- , Bill Date: 2006.08.14
• 2004 PORS CA, 64.414:- , Bill Date: 2003.12.08
• 1964 CHEV IM, 4.780:- , Bill Date: 2003.09.15
• 2001 JEEP W/T, 15.860:- , Bill Date: 2002.12.18
• 2002 PORS, 58.090: - , Bill Date: 2002.12.18
• 2000 GMC J/E, 18.180:- , Bill Date: 2002.09.16
• 2000 LNDR RRV, 48.940:- , Bill Date: 2001.12.10
• 2000 GMC J/E, 20.950:- , Bill Date: 2001.09.17
• 2000 LNDR RRV, 40.770:- , Bill Date: 2000.12.11
• 2000 GMC J/E, 28.300:- , Bill Date: 2000.09.11
• 1998 JEEP W/T, 21.180:- , Bill Date: 1998.12.14

The course of Marion Jones’s legal concerns – as they had pertained to discovery findings with respect to performance-enhancing drugs, and defence of statements against eye-witness accounts that she has used drugs – had involved a number of attorneys under her hire. Those attorneys have also cost money and, ultimately, have completed the scope and nature of their work vigorously as required by the law.

Marion Jones’s monetary issues are truly believed to have plunged her into debt in 2003, when, following her home purchase – with her as the sole borrower, the BALCO investigation took full course. She hired her attorneys to aid her with grand jury testimony (2003-October), and required their assistance with the Conte lawsuit and ensuing USADA meetings.

Unfortunately, Marion Jones’s exploits were revealed at a time when common people, by way of the media, are gaining better insight into how those once in the limelight have gone about living their lives.

Former 110m high hurdle world-record holder Colin Jackson had money to throw back at life – it’s not out of the ordinary for track and field athletes who snap up considerable prize money for their successes to make grand purchases and investments.

Jackson stated in an interview with ThisisMoney.co.uk stated that his biggest investment was his home – a project which has a current turn-around of £628.000. He also had a preponderance to purchase watches, claiming to own more than 70 of them, with the most expensive one a £25.000 indulgence splurge.

How are you saving for your retirement? “I have numerous pensions plus property. As well as my own house, I have bought my parents a property in Cardiff, which is actually bigger than mine. I'm definitely not strapped for cash.”

Carolina Klüft, Stefan Holm, Christian Olsson and Susanna Kallur – four of Sweden’s biggest-name stars – have also been featured in newspapers with reports on their investments and savings plans for the future.

It appears as though for Marion Jones, she never did mind the company she kept (or didn’t).

In your personal assessments as jury members with public opinion – to a reasonable degree of certainty – could foreclosure on a home after having spent a lot of your expenditures on toys cause elevated stress in a person irrespective of other obligations or stress factors already upon a person?

Finally, could actions of a well-documented, nine-month period of litigation whereby house and home would be confiscated and sold off to the highest bidder – including having to break news to your own kin that you would be forced to uproot them from the comfort of their own home which you gave them – be significant cause for stress, and, more specifically, be its own form of stress outright?

Let’s not even begin to state the obvious (then) impending trial her former coach, Trevor Graham, would be facing.

Would it be incorrect to conclude that in all probability, the stress caused from losing her valuables – those which she had purchased from earnings from competitions, appearances and endorsements – items which created a certain lifestyle, and which, consequently were continued to be purchased to “maintain the lifestyle” – had, at the least, an equal strength of burden when measured against losses which could have been related to being falsely accused for an action for which one had reasonably and consistently been suspected of being involved with for a number of years, not months?

It is plausible to conclude that two equal forces were acting in Marion Jones’s life when she determined it was time to prematurely conclude her season and plan for the damage control. The first part was composed of a “personal reason” for shutting her life down following her last race, and the second part a purported combination within itself of “shock” at a failed drugs test and pre-mature revelation in the absence of due process.

Nonetheless, when weighing the validity of Marion Jones’s statement made to the public through her attorney and via the media – a declaration which stated in essence that having been falsely accused and unjustly painted as a doping violator before the “B”-sample analysis was concluded – or even started – had caused a tremendous burden in Marion Jones’s life, and had called into question her personal drive to continue in the sport, we are not told that there is an equally pressing reason Marion Jones felt tired of fighting and unfit to continue.

Marion Jones, who was facing considerable financial difficulty, made certain economic decisions prior to her drugs test at the American outdoor championships to further engulf herself despite proceedings which were simultaneously taking place to cause the second of these scenarios to play out, namely foreclosure and the supposed selling of a home to “pay the bills,” as she stated.


Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones: Vol. 18

Story by Eric.

(This is the 18th part of a long series titled, "Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones". This series depicts the life and times of a (former) woman sprinter whose lies and cover-ups about doping in sport continue even through this day.)

Eerily, muteness is the sole integer remaining from a woman named Marion Jones who had so impetuously proclaimed to the world that she had been clear of all accusatory remarks and statements made against her.

I am not going to engage in the United States Anti-Doping Agency's secret kangaroo court. I will answer questions in a public forum that will be open for the entire world to see, hear and evaluate.”[1]

Oddly enough in 2006, it was to have been through silence – a yet-to-be-named source which her legal team had not appeared to severely pursue to quash – that the curtain on Marion Jones’s act of public deception was raised. The Marion Jones drugs case was open to the entire world – whether she appreciated it or not, and questions about her performance-enhancing drugs usage began again circling faster than a tropical storm.

One year later, answers to those questions were provided, and Marion Jones was denied the credibility she had so earnestly sought in each of her previous bouts against those who had accused her.

Those questions about Marion Jones’s use and the testing of that usage in 2006 seemed better off unanswered by some, for certain persons concluded that there was a difficulty in choosing between two apparent evils: the initial “A”-sample test versus the big, bad EPO testing system, itself, which had seemingly demonstrated that it, in-and-of-itself, was a hazard to athletics health – certainly Marion Jones’s in light of what were called discrepancies between her two test results.

Most folks were to refrain from washing her hands in a forgiveness fountain near them on the issue, however, as the saying goes:

A willful fault has no excuse, and deserves no pardon.[2]

Marion Jones has – through the wilful, deliberate and calculated efforts she employed to deceive herself, her competitors, her sport and her fans – simply fallen out of grace with the public following the biggest lie told to fans in this generation.

Yet Victor Conte would like the world to forgive her following her confession to using performance-enhancing drugs.

Is Marion Jones a bad person?” Victor Conte Jr., the brains behind Balco, said last night in an interview by telephone. “No. Marion made mistakes. The pain and suffering she is about to endure in public is going to be devastating to her.[3]

Facing the greatest assault to her credibility as a bearer of truth when she discussed with Robin Roberts the question of the “B”-sample, Marion Jones would have faced the utmost of objections by a prosecuting attorney had she made the same statement in a court of law. In an effort to jog your memory, let’s look at what Marion Jones stated.

Robin Roberts: “So let me point-blank ask you again: Marion, have you ever, ever taken any type of sports performance-enhancing drug?”

Marion Jones: “Um...I have always said – and I will continue to say – that I believe in a drug-free sport, I have never ever taken a performance-enhancing drug, and I’m just quite pleased...happy...ecstatic – any adjective to describe how I feel right now in terms of the fact that um, this “B”-sample proved that, um, that I have never taken a drug, and that I haven’t taken a drug. And I hope really, Robin that this whole situation with me is used as a catalyst – a catalyst for more research in testing, a catalyst for better confidentiality samples and just to protect the athletes.”

Marion Jones treated limited evidence provided in the form of a “B”-sample test (which undeniably was charted following a positive “A”-sample test which, in the eye of the experts reviewing the information, was true and accurate to the best of their knowledge and practical experiences – with no uncertainty to the matter) as though the “B”-sample test were admissible for all purposes, namely that the evidence which was admitted for WADA’s review to serve only a limited purpose – to provide her a reprieve from one test at one specific time – was used by Marion Jones specifically as probative evidence to be used by and for her specifically without limitation.

Marion Jones also made a misleading demonstration of the facts in stating that one sample had completely exonerated her from foul play, insofar as the evidence of one test – which followed the exact and equal opposite prejudicial conclusions of its initial screening – did not support any logical inference of never having cheated that could be reasonably drawn from the “B”-sample collection. There was no plausible manner the verification made of that “B”-sample could cause one to legitimately draw such conclusions that one test, given at a time nine years after Marion Jones returned to the track to begin her professional career, could positively and undoubtedly “prove she had never taken a drug”.

In fact, Marion Jones, one year later, admitted to having taken drugs, hence nullifying her statement above and rendering herself to a state of being a liar.

At which given time that is recorded and certifiable, in what way, shape, manner and form by way of a drugs test administered in the summer of 2006 did Marion Jones – through an independent and objective third-party as part of her defence of herself – participate in a test meant, specifically, to prove that the negative results it would provide would unconditionally prove beyond imagination and reason that she had never taken a performance-enhancing drug in her lifetime?

She had never partaken in such a test, and making statements such as the one above would have been an additional lie to Federal prosecutors had she made it. Yet, Marion Jones had no qualms about lying to the general public in having used that exact statement.

Would Marion Jones be willing to state the same information under oath in a court of law and defend her statement with substantial concrete affirmation of that fact, namely that one should have faith in things not seen?

The answer here is, “no”, unless she was foolish enough to be three times bitten by the law which governs morality in her country; she had already made misstatements for which she will now have to pay dearly. She’s being removed from record books and is already being forced to face the penal system for such actions. Then again, she lied once about BALCO. She chose to lie again during another unrelated matter concerning Tim Montgomery and forged checks. There may not have been anything to prevent her from having made another attempt to circumvent the truth.

Why was such a test – if, in fact, it is supposed to exist – only administered and “passed” with the scientific process the UCLA laboratory employed following the “A”-sample positive reading and, again, re-employed for the “B”-sample reading (which did not support the original test sample following 75 days of degradation), and never taken at any time in Marion Jones’s history to be used as the sweeping statement verifier she has stated it is to have been?

Why did Marion Jones feel compelled to rely on lie detector tests to disprove statements made about her during the BALCO scandal when there was by all accounts an all-purpose, once-for-all test available to demonstrate that all such discussion surrounding her was nonsense? Or had she not known that super test existed? Or perhaps it only worked following failed “A”-sample tests?

Surely Marion Jones, who wanted to use this experience as a catalyst to help other athletes avoid being unfairly exposed as cheats during the testing procedure, could have helped those athletes find a way through a scientific method to also be unconditionally proven to never have taken drugs in their careers as well, and have made money off of her magic trick at the same time, as surely she needs to be very creative these days with respect to how she is going to change her fortunes.

Or, perhaps being obligated to her financial concerns, but having a horrendous total liquid asset value to meet those obligations in the least, it would have made total and complete sense for Marion Jones to have skipped all legal recourse which could have netted her a financial reward in the matter of Marion Jones vs. Somebody Leaked (supposedly), as the U.S. court system would surely have found a way into her pocketbook. And, consequently, the following year, the IAAF and a slew of meeting arrangers under their jurisdiction would have, too.

Or, as the will of the world would have it, she’d be better off shelving the whole idea altogether, as providing such a test would have been to make false promises to her colleagues in the sport, and surely she’d want to avoid any more spreading of falsity among her peers. She took an Olympic oath in 2000 and promised to compete fairly, yet deceived her ambitious teammates then – making her first of many false claims to friends, family and compatriots.

Recall, nonetheless with respect to the EPO test what Marion Jones stated: She’s not superhuman. Everything which happened in August 2006 weighs on a person, and it weighed too much on her. She stated that upon hearing the news about the positive drug test, she wondered, “What else can I do? Maybe I should consider just not being in the sport.”

However, did Marion Jones ever verify the day and time she was told about the adverse “A”-sample result? That particular fact was of grave importance to her argument.

The five weeks leading up to that supposed revelation consisted of legal moves to displace her from her home in North Carolina. Which of the two would you judge as having had the capability of having the greatest impact on your own lives as individuals asked to relate to the same story? Which would create a stress level so high that the fight to stay above waters, so-to-speak, would cause you to face emotional hurdles too high to bear?

Marion Jones had vehemently denied allegations of drugs use and had fought to steer clear of legally being bound to wrong-doing and transgressors of the law over a period of time; she began doing so six years and 11 months before her difficult failed EPO challenge arose, and continued another 14 months following that as well. In so doing, she had staved off reports of unlawful activity, used a considerable amount of capital to do so, and had settled a defamation of character lawsuit against a multi-millionaire – though the summary amount is unknown, as is the actual winner and loser of the case (more on that to follow) considering he was right all along.

Did fighting one more allegation when it actually did count – having not simply a contention to decry but an analytical test result against which to defend, break the emotional bank for a woman who “vigorously” pursued the truth of matters relating to her connections – or lack of them – to drug usage in the form of non-analytical evidences?

Marion Jones would have you believe that, following a long, hard road which saw her give to the sport yet be forced to defend her image – tainted and stained by associations she had made to others – she simply lacked the energy to push one more time despite the fact that her great scientific test could prove that she had never taken a drug in her lifetime. That part, ladies and gentlemen, is a fabrication.

She would also have you believe she felt victimised and traumatised – shocked – that a positive test could have been associated with her name, and this, too has been refuted as being hot air insofar as Marion Jones, herself, would later associate her name with drugs-taking (or law-breaking, be it as it may) – for the same drug, nonetheless.

Marion Jones was a person of good repute, she stated, and had always maintained that she was for a drug-free sport. Because she was a decorated Olympic athlete, the public was never to make any connections or inferences between her “mistakes” with her ex-husband or the father of her child.

Marion Jones’s having acknowledged her having been a decorated Olympic athlete by method of fraud changed that, however and changed her from being a person of good repute to one of sullen reputation and bad character. Her fevering pitches of being for a drug-free sport were meant for her competitors, not Marion Jones, herself.

[1] Jet Magazine, 2004-07-12
[2] Welsh proverb
[3] International Herald Tribune, “A tarnished Marion Jones couldn’t outrun the truth”, 2007-10-05


Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones: Vol. 17

Story by Eric.

(This is the 17th part of a long series titled, "Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones". This series depicts the life and times of a (former) woman sprinter whose lies and cover-ups about doping in sport continue even through this day.)

The shame of this manifestation for most people human is learning that Marion Jones has traded a house in uptown for one in shantytown. Marion Jones has undergone a transformation from having rubbed elbows with Bryant Gumbel, Katie Couric and Nelson Mandela to sleeping in a dirty pit with people like a bankrupted couple named Dick and Jane – though she may not go to the same extremes to keep her lawn green if you follow the analogy. Furthermore, she has traded the comfort of house and home with the very real possibility of sharing a bunk with a United States Federal prisoner for any given period of time.

At the end of Marion Jones’s athletics rope, she covered herself during the day with stolen shrubs when the heat became unbearable, and placed a jagged rock under her inflated head for comfort when the sky above appeared to be collapsing down on her – as it did many a time in her short, 30-year-old existence here on earth.

Marion Jones went from a chateau-style home neighbouring Michael Jordan (purchased for a loan amount of $2.500.000 on 2003-February-19) to foreclosure, with two other North Carolina homes she owned – including the one she purchased for her mother – put on the market to raise “money to pay bills”.[1]

Mandela stated at the launch of Britain’s “Make Poverty History” campaign that poverty is not natural, rather man-made. He stated that the way to overcome and eradicate it was by the action taken by human beings.

Marion Jones is stated to be facing poverty, and her plan of action to financial recovery is to leave it up to God. Sir Winston Churchill, if he were alive, would have said fight on to the end.

Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. We stood all alone a year ago, and to many countries it seemed that our account was closed, we were finished. All this tradition of ours, our songs, our School history, this part of the history of this country, were gone and finished and liquidated.[2]

Now when the storms began hailing down from the heavens above (the forecast – no, the foreshadowing – had been warning of a tornado for some time now), they illuminated a golden road upon which Marion Jones had trespassed and sodden during her athletics life – one meant for the purer and more clean athletes who sweat salt and water, not artificial substances left from “the clear”.

The prudent – knowing that every road has two directions – don’t always choose the road less travelled, but do ensure they have a valid course map. The path Marion Jones settled upon – a thoroughfare stretching across eight separate seasons – has culminated in her reaching the end of the line with her foot stuck in a muddied hole of deception with no way to go but straight to jail and straight out of the sport.

Marion Jones found herself again at a public relations gulf too wide to circumvent, and waters too high and too deep to cross on her own, as she is one of the – if not most – recognisable names in her sport, and awaited her get-out-of-the-wilderness-free card from the IAAF – the authority responsible for accepting the legitimacy of the test result and the explanations provided for the “B”-sample tests. The international governing body did not refuse the explanation or call for a secondary review of the “B”-sample, enabling Marion Jones to avoid suffering under more heat, and continuing on her exhausting path.

Marion Jones was found innocent by the IAAF of a drug allegation relating to her “A”-sample testing, and she became a free woman able to compete until the next stormy scandal would rock her boat.

As the law of averages works wonders to serve one correctly, the waters did swell up yet again for Marion Jones in October 2007, and the storms engulfed her one more time – as they had since she returned to the sport 10 years earlier. Her cry for help – or quacks for sympathy – are echoing in the barren wilderness which is her life, and have fallen back on her own two deaf ears. Marion Jones has travelled her own course a withdrawn woman who has lost sense of the reality of where her final destination along the track of life would lead. Due process may have excused the first elevated EPO levels by closing the book on one test, but Marion Jones’s legacy was long since set.

Due process according to criminal law forced Marion Jones to close the book on her career, however, with “passing” the EPO test no small matter in this affair.

The footprints she leaves in the sand will never lead to a hall-of-fame, but to one of infamy shared by others who make extraordinary attempts at cheating.

The New York Times published an article on Tuesday, 2006-September-26 stating that Marion Jones was at that time seriously considering retiring. Marion Jones revealed to reporter William C. Rhoden via telephone that the five-week time period between her leaked “A”-sample test and the interview date were filled with turmoil and distress, with Marion Jones’s entire family affected by the issues surrounding the test.

It’s been a roller coaster,” she said early last Saturday. “I’m not superhuman. All this weighs on a person, and this has weighed on me too much. When I heard the news about the positive drug test, I said’ ‘What else can I do? Maybe I should consider just not being in the sport.’ The last five weeks have been the most difficult I’ve ever had to face. The stress level, the emotional toll has gone to a new stratosphere.[3]

Her plea to get from underneath this event was heard loudly and clearly by Rhoden, who, at the conclusion of the article, stated “I say stay. Don’t run. Fight.

She was thought to have a long battle ahead when Euro Meetings senior officials convened in March 2007 to vote on a motion to ban Marion Jones from every major event on the European Circuit in 2007 due to what they call, “excess baggage”.

Marion brings nothing but a whole load of bad baggage,” said one leading European meeting director. “I don't think we'd miss her if we didn't invite her.”[4]

However, the 18-member EAA council voted in Birmingham turned its attention from Marion Jones to European athletes currently (or any subsequent suspensions) serving at least a two-year doping ban, agreeing unanimously that those banned would not be able to compete in the EAA's major events (European indoor and outdoor championships, the European Cross-Country Championships and the annual European Cup competition) for a further two years.

An EAA spokesman stated that the EAA were not trying to stop the freedom of movement of any athletes, rather make a statement that if those who are banned are not allowed to compete in EAA championship events, it would devalue their worth to promoters.

The value of this contemplation has now diminished to naught, as Marion Jones has stepped away from the track for the rest of her natural life following her guilty plea to using steroids. Unfortunately, there are those, who, despite the warning signs, were still sticking around for the tornado, and were whisked away by their disbelief and the emotional turmoil of having been duped and lied to.

For those who, in the unlikely event have never picked up a souvenir copy of Life in the Fast Lane, take my advice: use the Redeem Me stamps to support five local high school kids’ dreams instead. The memoir is touching if you find the peak of angst created by standing in the middle of a division of hope and despair exciting. However, the story has been cheated of its authenticity by an estranged woman who ran down straightaways and jumped into pits void of social conscious. Marion Jones sprinted in a lane reserved for cheaters, and though running away will not have been glorious for her, it unquestionably will be very healthy for the sport in the long run – something which Marion Jones could not negotiate.

Marion Jones entered the homestretch of this drugs game far ahead of the average impugned cheat when controversial and turbulent circumstances were the marking sticks used to measure her against other fraudulent athletes. Marion Jones seemed undeniably equipped at staring the threat of banishment directly in the eye and being able to have it not roar back at her.

Consequently, it was not a vociferous lion in the form of Victor Conte which revealed to the world that Marion Jones’s grades on the honesty scale were fudged, namely that someone caught her making “A” marks by adding straight lines to each one of her “F” marks she recorded on her morality report card. Rather, it was first meant to be believed that it was a nameless, negligible individual who leaked a for-your-eyes-only publication of those infringements to the media before the instructors and principal were even alerted.

It went a step further than that, however.

The report card’s revelation left Marion Jones, the stark fighter, anxious and tired – having led an adult lifetime in hiding finally taking its dreadful toll on a body she has been enslaved to for three decades. Her response to being exonerated by the scientific testing procedures adversely connecting her first sample with drugs usage was one where she expressed being ecstatic, but absolutely nothing more came out of her than that. There was no rooftop dancing, no champagne bathing and no red carpet walks up to WADA’s headquarters. Marion Jones said absolutely nothing. Her attorneys did.

They were not speaking on her behalf 14 months later, however, and one understands that the monstrous looming legal trouble which stood overhead prevented Marion Jones from feeling any glee from having earlier escaped punishment.

Marion Jones’s hand had been severed before by the two-edged sword she used to feed her ego, yet rob from her sport, with a small Band-Aid applied to a gaping wound with respect to the amnesty she received in 2003 from the Federal government of the United States. That small rubberised surface containing small cotton square meant to treat a small cut burst, however, and her wounds did not heal; it was only a matter of time before she was to find the pain too much to handle and wither away into an obscure future outside of the sport.

It is a common gospel for men in a certain European culture to believe that not all who walk with long knives are crooks. I’d expect that, having seeing Marion Jones’s golden shank get sharper by the day during her career, even the most pious of men would have headed to the hills and ran away from her.

Fortunately for all, Marion Jones’s knife has shattered, and she has found it fit, herself, to throw down and disappear. One certainly hopes in the innermost self, however, that she is never forced to pawn off any other medals in order to make ends meet. Then again, which of Marion Jones’s medals had been won by the effort of honest competition if elements of her entire career have been suspect?

The Olympic ones, at least, have been safely transported back to the International Olympic Committee for re-assignment to the truest winners of those medals – save Thanou, who is – and will always be – suspected of doping. She, too, will be presented a medal of honour of a different value in what will be a true thorn to the International Association of Athletics Federations and the IOC.

[1] Los Angeles Times, “Marion Jones is out of the money,” 2007-06-23

[2] Sir Winston Churchill, “Never Give In, Never” speech to Harrow School, 1941-10-29

[3] The New York Times, ”Jones Tired of Running With Weight of Suspicion”, 2006-09-26

[4] The Guardian, “Jones’s ’bad baggage’ could lead to ban from European meetings”, 2006-11-29

Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones: Vol. 16

Story by Eric.

(This is the 16th part of a long series titled, "Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones". This series depicts the life and times of a (former) woman sprinter whose lies and cover-ups about doping in sport continue even through this day.)

Marion Jones, the perceived loud-mouthed nitpicker who criticised athletes for not being better role models[1], who, herself, was the biggest farce of one to exist in her sport for young people, and who had used television spots to ask Americans to actually pay attention to – and not just watch – women athletes, has had her career rendered to ashes – with no legal reprieve to continue onward as an Olympian.

You’re reading about a woman here, ladies and gentlemen, who, not only accused her peers of not walking along a path as role models, but she also had the nerve to cast the first stone at them as well. Marion Jones had a desire for women to be respected, yet she was oblivious to the perception women had of her following her long string of very poor choices in men, managers and trainers.

What she was also unmindful of was how deeply her strides of lawlessness could discourage black children – and white ones, too – who’d pinned up her photos from magazine articles and dreamed of being Olympians just like Marion Jones, their role model.

One such person was Allyson Felix, the 200m world junior record-holder and three-time gold medallist from the 2007 IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Osaka.

It was around the year 2000 when Marion was everywhere; she was definitely someone I looked up too. It was personally devastating for me see that it was true and see her go through that. I guess I felt even more responsible to be a role model to younger kids because that was important to me. It would be great if my role model could have been clean and still been my role model.”[2]

Judge Karas agreed with the role model status, stating in Marion Jones’s sentencing address: “Athletes in society have an elevated status. When there is this widespread level of cheating . . . it sends all the wrong messages to those who follow their every move.”

The Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday, 2007-June-23, that Marion Jones at that time was suffering astonishing financial problems associated with her continuous legal battles to clear her from doping allegations in the form of both controversy (Victor Conte) and collection (“A”-sample), and also considerable legal costs from losing a countersuit in a coaching dispute.

And Marion Jones appeared at that time to be leaning toward packing her spikes down in her travel bag for the final time according to The New York Times, though for reasons inconsistent with what you are now reading in this book, insofar as you are aware that she was simply on her last step ahead of disaster in 2006.

Many of her athletics peers, starting with a multiple world record-holder, Olympian and World Champion, wanted her to force open the door to retirement, run on through, and call it a day...a week...a year. However it’s sugar-coated, they simply and effortlessly wanted her out in the then-and-now. Marion Jones conceded that retirement was an option, one which she says snuck right up on her, but one which must be viewed as another lie.

Retirement had been sneaking up on her for quite a while, but she didn’t make claims of concession two months prior to the “A”-sample leak date, stating the following to The New York Times whilst preparing to compete in the 100m at the 2006 Reebok Grand Prix Track Meet:

I feel like I still have more to achieve in the sport,” Jones said. “I really don't think I'd be able to sleep at night if I left it all behind, that I ran away from a situation that, yeah, has been extremely difficult and perhaps a lot of people wouldn't have endured. But I wasn't going to allow that to happen.”[3]

Marion Jones did “allow that to happen”, however, having now reluctantly discovered that, despite all of her night watches and guarded entrances, life on the run (no pun intended), has caught up with her and will make it extremely difficult to sleep at night for reasons un-associated with those she mentioned above. Turning the other direction and ignoring the warning signs have permitted a very real presence of shock to riddle holes in her once bulletproof psyche – one which she claims took an inordinate amount of effort to maintain.

She queued up and let the tears stream down her chin whilst making a statement of contrition to reporters outside the Federal courthouse in White Plains, New York following her guilty plea on 2007-October-05, and turned 180-degrees from being the assured, confident – even boastful – defender of her athletics life she’d been on so many numerous occasion.

Her slide down the confidence scale was first noticed at this time when she nearly fouled herself out of the sport for two years with the positive EPO test which she managed to scoot around by delaying the analysis of the “B”-sample test; it wasn’t the first time she’d taken the drug.

As a by-product of Marion Jones’s leapfrog across continents on a red-eye in August 2006, those keeping score on the Iniquity Jones checklist ticked off the final box prior to the “B”-test exoneration, and the party had already begun. In some circles the revelation of elevated levels of EPO in Marion Jones’s system – even if lawyer-talked as having been borderline – was enough to finally have used justice to prove that Marion Jones the eluder finally had left a trace, albeit what seemed to be a questionable one.

As Jean de la Fontaine once stated:

Car c'est double plaisir de tromper le trompeur – “It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver.”[4]

Many people felt vindicated that a cheat of her magnitude had finally been snared in her own trap. It appeared high time for what many believed to be an informant who was “in the know” to take his or her long-awaited trip to an exotic island, for scribes to plan on front-row, all-expenses-paid trips to the Pulitzer Prize Award dinner for two, and for Victor Conte to put his dirty feet up on his desk as last man standing in a very bitter and turbulent civil discord with Marion Jones.

The endurance test for those pursuing Marion Jones seemed finished with the revelation she had failed the initial screening for performance-enhancing drugs. Many athletes, coaches, journalists and fans believed the shocked, big, bad wolf had howled in place of speaking like a sheep, and the shepherd, hearing her voice, exposed her for who she was, namely an impostor.

Suntan lotions and shoe polish were to be shelved an additional 13 months following that “B”-sample test – even though Dick Pound stated he’d challenge the Marion Jones “B”-sample results if WADA technicians were dissatisfied with the lab analysis. We never learn if and what Pound’s next-step actions would have been, as the review analysis results reviewing the process steps and readings are never revealed to the public.

There were several explanations provided as to why “B”-sample analysis did not support the “A”-sample findings, though those had been known and stated by WADA as being extremely rare instances.

Although at this point in time the sample test procedures may matter little to the public, discussion of those tests one year prior to Marion Jones’s admission of having cheated over a given period of time is very relevant to her statement of only using drugs up until 2002. Some here won’t concern themselves with whether she was ever foiled by a test result; they’ve rather simply wanted to know if she ever took drugs, and have gotten the short answer.

If you’ve been listening, and have allowed yourself to slowly become accustomed to the determinant as to why, by default, Marion Jones should, if anything in this entire drugs scandal, at least have appeared guilty, you’ve begun to accept that the “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” is really not a fictional story about a drunk’s revelations uncovered, rather a very real, chilling, haunting story of a misguided and elusive woman unable to land back on her feet, and who carried a less-than-inferior place on the public-opinion totem poll. Her anticipated “B”-sample was to be treated as absolutely nothing more than icing on a cake.

We've said all along that transparency is our best friend.[5]

Perhaps Mr. Nichols didn’t realise that folks had seen right through his client – so much that when she responded in the affirmative to having taken drugs, and cried a stream of tears for the special effects, few if any were left listening, because they knew that the “A”-sample test was enough of a demonstration of that lucidity.

With respect to transparency, it also appears as though his client didn’t heed the advice provided to her to be as translucent as possible when questioned by Federal investigators, either, having been ensnared by her own lies.

If bad discords, failed marriages, fraudulent boyfriends, IRS inquisitions, drugs processing calendars, refutable – but, plausibly believable – words from suspect people, and shifts from Marion Jones on her own stances toward all of the above, was not enough to raise one’s eyebrow or their blood pressure, they’d not know a dingo in a sheep parade if their life depended on it.

Athletes and agents had noticed the extra-large footprints in the stable, with one, below, sounding his personal alarm to the masses:

Marion is a thief. She basically steals money on the circuit when she is a cheat. It’s about time she got caught. For somebody like Lauryn it’s very difficult. She is doing it the right way. She is a young, hard-working, clean athlete, a little inconsistent, but that is the way she is. She raises her level at championships but it’s disillusioning for her to run against people like Marion.”[6]

(Lauryn Williams touched on the subject of Marion Jones’s absence from the 2007 USATF Championships, stating: “To me, out of sight, out of mind. Hopefully people aren’t wasting time thinking about the negativity of the past”).[7]

These had already been hard times for those who, through no fault of their own, demonstrated a faith in what appeared to be a good-natured, single-mother athlete fallen on some misfortune, bad timing and piss-poor luck with men of influence in her life. With the fine hair sheered, however, what remained was a sneaky cat with nine very calculated, purposeful lives – each one with its own genesis, the final one ending with a revelation – now nearing extinction.

It seemed high time following her test failure to answer the question posed by one of the world’s largest athletics-based magazines:

America's greatest athlete . . . There has rarely been a sprinter with greater physical gifts, yet adaptability and tough-mindedness key her triumphs. At the height of rending speed, she attains a Zen-like calm. . . . After all she's done already, what's left to say about young Marion Jones? Just this: The best is yet to come.[8]

The best of the worst had seemingly come for Marion Jones in that failed EPO test, but it was a trial date for obstructing justice and lying which were to set her back...permanently and without prejudice.

Insofar as this series is not based upon one specific event, but a multitude of actions and dealings with regard to Marion Jones’s lies and cover-ups, what could have appeared at the time to have been a step back in the pursuit of distinguishing, connecting and revealing the falsehoods in Marion Jones’s career was not a particularly big bump in the road – especially in the case of the mystery “B”-sample turning the tide on a failed drugs test angle.

The test, itself, would provide an even greater basis of distinguishing whether or not Marion Lois Jones, an athlete, demonstrated character and could be trusted.

One year later, she “proved” that she couldn’t – in more ways than she led on, and it proved that she had known more about EPO than she had led on: she had previously taken the drug over a two-year period under BALCO’s supervision.

[1] The Sporting News, 2000-09-25

[2] USOC Team Media Summit, 2008-April

[3] The New York Times, “Marion Jones Adds New York Event to Comeback Trail”, 2006-06-03

[4] Fables (II, 15)

[5] San Francisco Chronicle, “Jones must have her case on the air”, 2004-06-02

[6] Sunday Herald, “Drug Running”, 2006-09-03

[7] Chicago Tribune, “100 favorite wants to clean up at finish”, 2007-06-20

[8] Runner’s World quoted on Marion Jones, See How She Runs jacket © 2000 Algonquin Books

Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones: Vol. 15

Story by Eric.

(This is the 15th part of a long series titled, "Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones". This series depicts the life and times of a (former) woman sprinter whose lies and cover-ups about doping in sport continue even through this day.)

Marion Jones took a short period of time collecting energy in an attempt to bridge the past and the present, having had yet one other home address to farm off as she attempted to flee the times of yore and dive into the future with Thompson – this in spite of her legal troubles and lack of money. Legal record listed Marion Jones on Tharrington Road in Wake Forest in 2006 – an address she listed when, whilst performing her civic duty, voted in person in the 2006-November-7 General Election in Wake Forest, using the said address there.

Two weeks later, she paid her property taxes in full – an amount which would have had her double her stated bank balance before payment was remitted according to the deposition she made which was reported by the Los Angeles Times. This was a one-unit, 1½-story 3.623 square-foot home built on a 1,84-acre lot in 2002 which Marion Jones received the deed on 2005-August-22 at a maximum obligation limit of $102.375.

That home was sold off with Thompson and Marion Jones both named as grantors of estate when the new owners were awarded the deed on 2007-April-24, though they were already married and living in Texas when the deal was made.

We’ll get back on track with the matter of homes and purchases in a short while.

Marion Jones has at times in her past history been perceived by reporters and athletes connected to her world as being a person who walked a very fine line between being eager and having confidence, to being downright arrogant and aloof. Bearing that in mind, many fans who held such pre-conceived ideas about Marion Jones’s personality shall have be so inclined to believe Marion Jones’s shock admission was more likely due to her having been surprised that she had been narrowly close to being exposed as a drugs cheat than it was of a person being taken aback in sincerity in an honest to God I didn’t do it type of way.

Unfortunately, despite those who, perchance, were predisposed to slow understanding where they found themselves on her test sample issues, no amount of spin-control could come to Marion Jones’s salvation in the final chapter of a disputatious career when she was forced to begin revealing some of those dirty little secrets which had remained within. The situation, as they say, did spin out of control.

One person who was there waiting in the soaring heat was Dick Pound, the WADA big boss.

Pound did his part in ensuring it would continue to spin, despite the small hiccup he faced in his pursuit of truth in the matter of Non-Analytical Positives vs. Marion Jones. No Greater rivalry has existed for Marion Jones than the one with Dick Pound, author of Inside the Olympics: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Politics, the Scandals, and the Glory of the Games, released in 2004.

Pound can be compared to being the wind gauge aimed spot on down Marion Jones’s lane or on the runway following her back to measure for allowance purposes: if he, like the machine, detected any extra non-permissible push behind her efforts, those efforts were to become disqualified for record purposes.

WADA has an annual budget of $25 million and oversees the drug testing done by all of the world’s sports federations. WADA finances research for measures to stay catch up – and get ahead – of the BALCOs of the world, or those who attempt to beat the drug testing system, but has had difficulty unifying its international sports federations. WADA was brought to life by the International Olympic Committee to bring together the Olympic movement and public authorities into a singular body in order to combat drugs in sport – something the IOC acted upon following leadership criticism toward the IOC in 1998.

WADA also credentials a network of drug-testing laboratories around the world – including the laboratory in Los Angeles, and conducts some of its own drug-testing of athletes. WADA also updates its list of prohibited substances in several publications as well as its home page, a list which 191 countries around the world have accepted as the binding Anti-Doping Code.

Pound was featured in an article in Wired Magazine on 28-December-2006 entitled “The Righteous Fury of Dick Pound.” Pound was portrayed as a one-man crusader who has made several enemies along the course of trying rid sports of drugs. His style and manner of communicating his stance on doping issues – including athletes he suspects of doping and/or federations he suspects of covering up those improprieties – has come under attack by several people in the sport over the years since WADA has existed, Marion Jones notwithstanding.

“It's confrontation,” Pound says about his style. “You're confronting a problem: People agree to certain rules of the game and then deliberately break them. You can't finesse it or isolate it or surround it. You have to confront it.”

His critics disagree.
To them, the problem isn't the rules, it's the enforcer.

“If Dick Pound is saying, ‘I’m going to be an advocate in these cases,’ then athletes start to wonder, ‘Am I even going to get a fair hearing here?’” says Howard Jacobs, an attorney who has represented several athletes, including Landis and Jones. “When you have the head of WADA passing judgment on pending cases, whatever the intention is, certainly people can question whether one of the goals is to signal to arbitrators how you expect the results to come out.”

Pound dismisses these complaints. “I'm not getting much criticism from athletes who aren't using drugs. I'm getting it from the folks who either have been caught, are representing those who have been caught, or are representing organizations who don't want to admit that there's a problem.”

Howard Jacobs’ legal posturing faced the possibility of backfiring when Pound sought the CAS presidency role which became available following Kebe Mbaye’s death in 2007-January. Pound was not elected, rather finished runner-up for the role.

The CAS – or Court for the Arbitration of Sport – is located geographically located in Lausanne, Switzerland, and acts as a final stage verdict in all appealed cases between athletes and those accusing them of sports wrong-doings or disputes.

“It's closer to what I actually do for a living than anything that I've ever done for the IOC," he told The Associated Press. “I'd certainly be willing to do it.”

Marion Jones found a temporary reprieve – if nothing more than a personal satisfaction of having the law, and the upholding of it, on her side – by having her “B”-sample drugs test findings demonstrate levels inconsistent with her initial “A-sample” findings, thus eliminating her physically from the charges of performance-enhancing drugs use – but not removing her from any of the allegations – to which she provided admittance in October 2007.

Pound has made it a personal mission to clean up drugs in sport, and butted heads with Marion Jones over this cleansing process. Both resembled two rams with very determined agendas and significant will-power spearing each other on to cripple and render ineffective the other. Marion Jones may have been provided breathing room, but appearances – as folks have witnessed on so many occasions – can be, and are, deceiving.

The space between her and Pound grew too close for her comfort when she, following her affirmation of culpability, was at last linked to having been a cheat – though not a drugs cheat in her own words to the media, rather a liar.

The New York Times also ran an extensive piece on Pound (2007-January-7), entitling the article, “The Scold”. Pound, engaging the United States – one of his biggest targets in the fight against doping due to what can be perceived as cover-ups, sounded off against America.

“There aren’t too many people who are prepared to point the finger at America and say: ‘Hey, take off the [expletive] halo. You’re just like everybody else.’ That’s a problem in America. America has a singular ability to delude itself.”

Pound may (or not) deserve the attention he’s brought upon himself, having being construed as a brash, take no prisoners dictator. He’s become a master of quotes, and as much as he speaks, journalists continue to write. His goal, he states, has been to keep sport clean, but he has less belief in the cleanliness of athletes, themselves.

“Here’s the deal,” he says. “The shot-put weighs this much. The race is so many laps long. You can’t hollow out your shot-put and make it 12 pounds instead of 16. You don’t start before the gun. Run 11 laps instead of 12. And part of the deal is don’t use these drugs. It’s kind of an affirmation when you show up at the starting line. You are making an affirmation that you are playing the game the way it is supposed to be played.”

Marion Jones, oddly enough, sided with Pound in another story earlier published by The New York Times, one which appeared to be a sentiment-gathering piece, stating:

“I agree with Dick Pound,” Jones said, referring to the chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, about the conflicting A and B test results. “There has to be an answer. Why? Is it human error, or is it the test itself?”

Marion Jones had openly forgotten that Pound was also seeking an athletics death penalty against Marion Jones, and had stated on record that WADA still reserved the right to test have Marion Jones “B”-sample analysed at another facility by a different group of scientists to ensure the readings were accurate. Siding with the man who had made it a near personal struggle to lasso in Marion Jones from her high horse was unexpected from a woman who has had a very contentious co-existence with Pound in the sport.

“I suppose if our experts look at it and say on the basis of what we have seen, there is no question it should have been positive, we have an opportunity to put that into play.”

Some fans were loitering in the denial lobby during this nine-year Marion Jones-is-probably-guilty case, and, consequently, were unable to acknowledge the veracity of circumstantial evidences claims on this slippery slope provided to them in their little corners of the real world by journalists on a hard course due east in search of the “inside scoop”. They were not entirely too late, however.

After taking a hard right hook on the chin, and nearly falling down for the count – but deemed alert enough to make it through the end of the match following her “A/B-sample” fiasco, the only remnants which were remaining of a once stellar championship career later discovered to have been built on the power of “the clear” were now too few to even be considered healthy scraps for a family dog; there was little of integrity or substance remaining in the Marion Jones saga which could cause your family pet to cease from licking his tail – no matter how much you may have tried coercing him.

Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones: Vol. 14

Story by Eric.

(This is the 14th part of a long series titled, "Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones". This series depicts the life and times of a (former) woman sprinter whose lies and cover-ups about doping in sport continue even through this day.)

Whoever did voluntarily leak the positive results exercised a great deal of care in this case to plan the greatest shock value for Marion Jones – one which would actually make the remaining sections of her story more believable. They were also very particular and methodical enough to minimise any risk of exposure to themselves in so leaking that information. There simply are no substantial finger-pointing opportunities available at either USADA or USATF which one could simply pin on someone and force a confession of their crimes.

Marion Jones is such a person known to have crafted red herrings, lied about previous statements, created leaked information and has been forced to confess for those decoys and lies she made.

Strictly eliminating the previous two suspects based on motive, we’re left considering Marion Jones – or someone in her camp – based on means, opportunity and motive.

Marion Jones and her entourage had the means, as the results were made available to them as per anti-drug testing protocol. They had the opportunity to do so when the results were confirmed as being positive. That leaves one considering strongly the realm of motive recalling that Marion Jones has had a history of abusing trust, power and truth – and also a future which would have her leak other “For Your Eyes Only” confidential information meant for family and “close friends”.

Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, devoted to humanitarian duty, once stated, “Poverty is the mother of crime”.

It is not out of the bounds of reason to consider that an immediate threat of poverty could encourage a person to commit certain kinds of acts he or she may not have committed in the absence of it. Likewise, a person in financial trouble could have had the same rivalled encouragement to leak confidential information about a positive drugs test in order to have those means justify their financial ends.

On the other hand, nonetheless, what would be the justification by a person whose financial independence was directly tied to appearance fees and prize money to not exhaust all legal means possible to locate the source of the leaks and “vigorously pursue” a course of legal action against them – especially when the said athlete was in a financial dispute of her own requiring significant monies to cover a potential loss?

Enter Marion Jones.

Marion Jones, embroiled in a financial controversy, lost a first-round financial judgment against her by her former coach, Dan Pfaff, in the amount of $240.000 on 2006-July-18 – or four days following her 100m season’s best effort of 10,91 seconds in Rome – a time which netted her a runner-up position.

Inadvertently, perhaps, when stating that she had lost income due to her leaked test result, Marion Jones stated she lost what would have covered the costs of Pfaff’s legal fees and lost coaching income he was seeking to recover in the suit at nearly the same time she disclosed the loss of income due to adversity.

Marion Jones was in severe financial difficulty, and at the time facing the most embarrassing time of her private life. She’d run out of options to pay off her home – including selling property and assets to meet some of her financial obligations. However, Marion Jones purchased an Audi two days before foreclosure proceedings were set on her home, and five days after the trustee deed was signed away. The trustee deed was enforced 2007-July-26 (one day before she competed in London, and eight days after her judgment loss to Pfaff), with her creditor the last and highest bidder for the deed at $2.812.573,50.

Gone was Marion Jones’s largest and most luxurious of her toys, or things “to maintain the lifestyle”, as she put it succinctly in a 180-page deposition during the Pfaff case.

Had Marion L. Jones, the credibility-crippled sprinter turned hard-luck gypsy found her livelihood the slightest bit threatened, she, sticking to her previous claims against people, would have made an inquisition into the leaked test, asked to have the status results of that made public and then sued the initiator of that felony against her dignity and right to work; she would have, as she stated, had this be injustice be “a catalyst for better confidentiality samples and just to protect the athletes.”

She didn’t.

Would it have been unreasonable to have expected Marion Jones to be more upset over the matter?

Consider the following:

Marion Jones had been documented as having had been more upset over the accusation – or notion – of being a doped athlete than she seemed to be at losing her fortunes following a leaked dope test result.

In this case, however, there were no out-spoken words from her of “vigorously” pursuing any and all legal means necessary to get to the bottom of the leak, which, in actuality, was the sole purpose in which she stated she did not continue to compete – not the actual sample test, itself.

Whether or not a journalist in the Washington Post’s Amy Shipley would give up her source or protect it – as was the case with the San Francisco Chronicle reporters who repudiated attempts made by the court system to give up their source – would it not have made practical sense for Marion Jones to have made an attempt at forcing the issue – even if only to demonstrate that her previous attempts at clearing her name were not done so in vain when it finally counted?

She knew that clearing her name would never come to fruition, and the only association of the word “clear” and “Marion Jones” in the future would be a negative, lasting one.

Perhaps it was, as it seemed, Marion Jones had no financial means to of mounting a legal challenge to this perceived injustice done to her.

In that event, a point of note arises in considering why Marion Jones didn’t robustly seek defamation claims against a large number of journalists around the world and the newspapers which carried the “A”-sample story which was subsequently overturned by the “B”-sample test.

There was probable cause which extended beyond any doubt that punitive damage awards could have been massive in that instance.

Marion Jones first retained her legal counsel to help guide her through the Grand Jury testimony stage which arose from BALCO. She then fought off attempts by USADA to have her barred from the 2004 Athens Olympics. Her most powerful case was for the defamation lawsuit she filed against Conte, which was followed by her defence of her “A”- and “B”-samples. The final step in this attorney payment schedule has been litigation in the Pfaff breach-of-contract suit which has been extended and gone into appeal. Somewhere along the line she was able to continue collecting frivolous toys which she had every right to do as a person with interests in vehicles – and the prerogative to lose everything all the same.

Insofar as it can be deduced that Marion Jones was running on empty in financial matters in the build-up year to the Athens Olympics, the most prevalent opportunity she had available to her to turn her fortunes around would have been to have taken the Conte trial through to its conclusion in court, not in a settlement. Marion Jones had every opportunity to pin the tail on Conte and take him for all he was worth if indeed he was guilty of defaming and slandering her.

As it turns out, he wasn’t.

Had her financial health taken a hit following her divorce, grew imminently worse through the BALCO stages and hit its peak with the clash USADA, her attorneys could have advanced certain court costs and the expense of litigation in the Conte trial with repayment from Marion Jones contingent on the outcome of the matter.

Guess what? They didn’t.

As a matter of fact, they could have done so with the outcome of any number of matters, with the leaked test result the greatest and most personal of those to hit Marion Jones’s pocketbook in relationship to her stated losses. There was no lawsuit filed, and one is left to make a presumptive statement that Marion Jones didn’t even win pennies more than the cost of initiating her lawsuit, and paid her attorneys out-of-pocket for her incurred expenses, thus reducing significantly any sum of money she could have held as savings.

Inasmuch as Marion Jones’s attorney team has been retained by her on more than one occasion, and gave the impression that it had won more than it had lost with respect to keeping Marion Jones in the sport and on the 2004 Olympic team whilst fending off allegations, it would seem reasonable that they would have pursued this to the fullest in an effort to clear their client of any further “character assassination” as they’d previously called accusations made against their client.

Would they not have made a concerted effort as biased, subjective legal specialists to independently pursue matters concerning the leak to ensure such events could not be repeatable, and ensure the act was deemed criminal?

It would have been reasonable for them to have pursued those avenues had their client indeed been uncontaminated in the matter. They told her on previous occasion during the BALCO trial to tell the truth, but she failed to heed their advice to her own detriment. She was also contaminated in the “A”-sample round and had no recourse other than to sprinkle water over the huge fire she created.

Would it be fair to say that continued, excruciatingly painful episodes of public humiliation would ruin a person’s enjoyment of life, especially if they were innocent of the charges for which they faced contempt and scorn? Marion Jones would go on to face even more painful episodes which included world-wide humiliation – acts which ruined her further enjoyment of the sport as a participant, and removed her from certain historical sections of it as well, because she was not innocent of drugs taking in the past.

Inasmuch as there was purported relief available to Marion Jones by means of a lawsuit filed against Conte when her name was first bandied about in a manner which conservative fans likely deemed to have been done viciously and without regard to truth, was there no conservative option available to Marion Jones following the leaked test which would have given her at least financial relief with respect to her hidden legal challenges?

Did her legal counsel, who had a financial incentive to work the case, inform Marion Jones of those options, if they, in fact, did exist? Had they pursued – and won – a lawsuit against the “informer”, would it not have increased their bottom line? Would it not have permitted them to possibly take on more cases as a result of the nature and outcome of such a victory against “injustice”? Would it not have put one of the two other suspects in this case out of business and at a complete loss of credibility?

USADA was one of those suspects, and they would have immediately suffered severe and heavy blows to their credibility and been justly denied the opportunity to further demonstrate that they practiced fairness and diligence in their discovery of the truth had they been revealed to have been the source of that leaked information to the media on Marion Jones’s private and confidential test results.

They had, over a period of three years, accumulated evidences against Marion Jones, but took a long, deliberate, systematic approach to that assimilation to present a solid case – or to close out the process due to a lack of complete evidence. Their approach was so scrupulous and meticulous that Marion Jones had associated USADA with being a “kangaroo court” whilst they investigated the extent of her involvement with BALCO.

It requires no great stretch of the imagination to understand that, with all likelihood, Marion Jones would have sought financial vengeance against USADA – a long-standing thorn in her side – and “vigorously” pursued all possible means of legal recourse to break their bank and pay for their sins against her if they were the source of the leaked test, so to speak.

USADA didn’t leak the test results, however, and there was simply no case against them for which her counsel could file a claim – though we were left guessing on that one until Marion Jones confessed of being a cheat. Her attorneys are at liberty to preserve Marion Jones’s secrets – statements made in confidence – at every peril to themselves unless by not doing so, Marion Jones could cause herself or another person great bodily harm.

And of USATF, who Marion Jones’s counsel claimed could have leaked the test result? That mention was simply nothing but more greyish smouldering smoke from a dying fire in Marion Jones’s corner at that time. Neither you nor I heard one peep from her counsel on a discovery course of action to ascertain any remote possibility USATF could have been involved in the leak.

Marion Jones, possessing no scapegoat in USADA, and having only had a broken arrow shot verbally at USATF – which her attorneys stated could have been culpable in the disclosure of privileged information, simply turned a corner to drop a stink bomb on the world – something which became more indicative of her over the past few seasons, instead of laying a foundation to pursuit of a perpetrator – any one whatsoever.

She left a collective body of fans in you and myself a sound-bite with the world’s most incredulous, outlandish statement and followed that up by granting a select interview with The New York Times wherein the nine-time Olympic and/or World Championships gold medallist stated she had begun contemplating calling it quits on her career and spending time with her son, whilst those same defenders of truth, her legal counsel, spoke out openly about the consequences of leaking information before the “B”-sample analysis was performed.

Bleep. Then Marion Jones dived off the radar.

Marion Jones was so far removed from the headlines in the winter following her drugs fiasco that when she married Obadele Thompson, the former Olympian from Barbados, everything was kept at an absolute hush-hush level of silence.
Who knew?

Better yet, were you or I required to really care with whom she’d decide to go forward into an uncertain future and away from a disastrous past – one which, under the present circumstance provided through her confession, now calls into question every statement, word, deed and action she has made as a person, as an athlete and also as a competitor to others, so long that she was gone?

The only ones I could consider who would keep their noses in her business would be celebrity wedding watchers or people who’d spin the wedding as an act of deception to keep Marion Jones, now mother of two children, out of prison.