Three-time Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about using steroids. “I have betrayed your trust," the former track star said on Friday. Jones became the best-known athlete to be brought down in a crackdown on the use of drugs to make athletes faster and stronger. “"When something seems too good to be true, it probably is,” said Dick Pound, chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
What the commentators said
“The International Olympic Committee should snatch the medals” off Jones’ neck, said the Chicago Sun-Times in an editorial. Her fans believed her “years of denials.” Now, “girls who turned to her for a strong, healthy female body image feel duped.” Now the retired sprinter is headed for the dopers’ “hall of shame” where, it turns out, she always belonged.
Have some compassion, said Sally Jenkins in The Washington Post (free registration). Jones knows she messed up, but she had the courage to stand up and loudly plead guilty. She admitted she “swallowed steroids and lied about it,” then delivered “emotional apology.” She has asked for forgiveness. “She has mine.”
Jones' "epiphany was forced," said USA Today in an editorial, or remorse. It was part of a plea deal with prosecutors investigating alleged money-laundering scheme involving her former trainer, Trevor Graham. The only positive thing in this sad affair is the possibility that it will encourage sports officials to tighten testing and punishment for dopers.