Marion Jones Hopes To Make Up For Absence

10/30/2008 at 03:30 PM ET
Matthew Stockman/Getty

In an emotional appearance on Wednesday’s The Oprah Winfrey Show, Marion Jones gave her first interview since completing a six month sentence for lying to federal authorities in connection with a steroid investigation. The 33-year-old former Olympic champion — who saw her five gold medals from the 2000 games stripped as a result of her conviction — read aloud a letter she’d written from prison to her two children, Monty, 5, and Amir, 15 months. "Mommy is far away from both of you, because I made a  mistake in life, and because of it, I have to pay a horrible price, which is being temporarily separated from you and your daddy," Marion wrote.

"My mistake cost me Monty and Amir for six months of our lives. These are six months I can never get back. Ever. I love you both more than the breath I take. God please put your arms over them and protect them."

Before starting her sentence, Marion sent the kids off to Barbados with family members to make her departure less traumatic. "I knew in my heart that they were going to a loving environment, but knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to see them, and hold them, was one of the most difficult things I ever had to do," she said. When the boys’ birthdays came and went — Amir’s first, and Monty’s fifth –and she remained incarcerated, the pain was palpable. As Marion tearfully told Oprah,

"There are people that say, ‘She did the crime, she has to do the time…She has to pay the consequences.’ I understand all that, and I did that. But still, they’re kids. They didn’t commit a crime, and I can never get back Amir’s first birthday. I can never get back Monty’s fifth birthday. But I do hope to make up for it."

After her release in September, Marion said she just had one thing on her mind: reconnecting with her kids, and husband Obadele Thompson. Despite her Olympic success and the scandal that followed, she now considers herself a full-time mom and a full-time wife — nothing more, and nothing less. "In comparison, I like this job — if I can call it that — a lot more," Marion said.

Source: The Oprah Winfrey Show

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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MissAllisonJenny on

I have sympathy for her kids being away from her, but none for her personally. Other people don’t get a break “because I have little ones” when they break the law and she shouldn’t have expected any different.

carie on

Sad situation, but the only person to blame for missing the kids’ birthday is herself.

MB on

That is true, but unfortunately the law isn’t equally applied. Whatever happened to that cyclist who was found to have doped up last year? He lost his title, but I don’t think he went to prison. I agree she should have had to pay for her crime, as should anyone, but it’s also frustrating when only some people have to have the consequences. I’m talking about regular people too, not just famous ones.

Amanda on

MB – the reason she went to jail is because she lied under oath about her drug use. Otherwise she would have been simply banned from the sport and stripped of her titles. But she lied under oath. And that is why she got jail time.

melissa on


Lulu on

She went to jail because she lied to federal authorities, not because of the drugs. There’s no double standard in regards to the cyclist.

Robyn on

She went on Oprah this week and says she still didn’t know what she was taking and I do not believe her. She should admit what she did and she will be forgiven but to still lie at this stage in the game is pointless because the damage has already been done. The truth shall set you free.

Rosy J on

I have very happy for her and this new chapter in her life. She made an error in judgment for which she paid a high price. She took full responsibililty for her actions and I feel she learned a very valuable lesson. Good luck to her and the best that life has to offer.

fuzibuni on

It is serious business to take infants away from their parents during the critical bonding time of 0-2 years. That little kid could very well have lifelong developmental and attachment issues because of it.
I’m not saying that Marion shouldn’t have been punished, but I don’t see how it helped ANYONE to put her in jail for 6 months after she just had a baby.

halifaxhoney on

It’s too bad that she missed out on her children’s birthdays but she should’ve figured that committing a crime would mean that she would miss out on things in her childrent’s lives. I’m not sure that interview she did with Oprah helped her with her image. I didn’t feel bad for her at all.

Tanja on

@Amanda and others…..Floyd Landis cooperated…..but Trevor Graham her coach didn´t…and so didn´t TAmmy Thomas….both took the case to trial…no plea…and were sentenced with home confinement…no little kids nothing…Victor Conte….the guy who sold the drugs…only went to jail for 4 months and had additional 4 months of homeconfinement….to me…Marion was used as a scapegoat…and it´s a joke to me….the guys who gave the drugs to the athletes get less than an athlete who lied to the federal investigators….I find the first offense to be worse….Tammy Thomas lied til the last second…and she gets home confinement……as 2Pac once said…..Lady Liberty needs glasses

Victoria M on

This was completely bogus and a double standard. Landis isn’t the only example… baseball player Rafael Palmeiro swore in front of Congress UNDER OATH that he had never taken steroids, even wagged his finger at everyone. Couple months later tested positive for steroids.
Never went to jail. Andy Pettite also told Federal Investigators he never took Steroids only to admit to it a few months later. Nevermind the whole scandal with Roger Clemens. This whole Steroids witchhunt is quite ridiculous.
Criminals belong in jail… athletes that take steroids deserve to be disciplined by their sport. Keep the REAL criminals in our overcrowded jails. Drunk drivers for example belong in jail way more than Marion Jones does.

And yes, she lied under Oath, but probation and community service would have been more appropriate. Bill Clinton lied under Oath as well and he was not punished. The jail system should be reserved for people that truly deserve correction.

I think it is unfortunate that they separated a mother from her two small children over a Political issue. Steroids are rampant in sports and it is ridiculous that one person goes to Jail for it and only one other is under Federal Investigation (Barry Bonds)

Brandi on

Marion was also still nursing her baby and was forced to wean. I agree with fuzibuni that it effects more than just her. It’s an unfortunate situation.

Di on

I definitely feel like the prosecutors and the judge wanted to make an example out of Marion Jones. It seems like the courts and Congress are making such a big deal about steroids now.

I agree with an earlier post which stated that any punishent related to steroid use should be left up to atheletic organizations and not the courts.

I watched the Oprah interview and it appears that Marion is genuinely sorry about her actions, after all she went from being one of the most decorated olympians to a disgraced athlete who was stripped of all of her medals and her achievements have been erased from the record books which seems like enough punishment to me.

lilith on

I don’t know what to think about her going actually to jail instead of being in home confinement, but to leave “any punishent related to steroid use … up to atheletic organizations and not the courts”, this is a joke, right?
First of all she lied under oath, second olympic athletes represent their country not only themselves, olympic winners make millions and millions of money with ad campaigns for us regular folks, on their way to the top they’re usually supported with tax money to help them through their training.
And if they think they can’t be bothered to play fair and are using illegal substances the public shouldn’t be able to take them to the court? Why?
If you leave the subject to atheletic organizations then it would be much more appropriate to finance athletes with money coming from the pharmaceutical industry than the public.

MontanaMomma on

I find it absolutely deplorable that this woman was separated from her infant child for lying under oath about steroid use, when others who have committed similar crimes are given much lighter sentences. Indeed, Lady Liberty does need glasses. What Marion Jones did was in extremely poor taste, dishonest, and an extraordinarily poor example to America’s youth and she certainly deserves to pay the consequences. However, I do not view her crimes to be on par with those who have done serious harm to human beings or society. Our prisons can barely support the hardened criminals they already contain, and it seems ludicrous to put Marion Jones in amongst that overloaded system, children or not.

There is a vast amount of evidence showing that extremely critical bonding takes place between a mother and child during the first couple years of life…ESPECIALLY if there is a nursing relationship. A brand new infant sharing in the pheromone/hormone/sustenance relationship that nursing creates being suddenly stripped of that and having it’s primary caregiver flat out disappear…boy you talk about cruelty to innocents. I don’t think a single tax-payer or citizen of this country was hurt in the way that baby was. It’s totally sick.

Marion Jones may have broken the law and she may deserve punishment, but there is always a bigger picture involved. Why couldn’t the situation have been looked at holistically? The woman could have been punished through home confinement and no harm would have come to her babies. Her babies could actually have benefited from having their mother with them 24/7.

I find the decision detestable and thoughtless, and a testament that our society has a LONG way to go in getting the bigger picture regarding raising our children. Children are our future and “there will be no real insurance until we invest in our children”. If the deciding parties were trying to make some kind of point with Marion Jones, I think they picked the wrong person to do it with. What a tragedy.

lizzielui on

Marion Jones’s crime was not just lying to the feds about her steroid use. She took a plea on that charge and on a charge related to a check fraud scheme that she had going with her then boyfriend Tim Montgomery. Tim passed hundreds of thoudands of dollars in fraudulent checks and deposited a lot of the money into accounts under Marion’s name as a front. Marion was aware of all that was going on and she acknowledged that in the plea deal. She went to jail because she broke the law people, and honestly she got off easy. She could have done up to 25 years for both charges. Everyone has the right to decline answering questions by the feds, but when you do you MUST tell the truth. And you certainly cannot go around cashing bad checks with your boyfriend. Also, Marion Jones lied for years about her steroids use (and is still lying) and even brought lawsuits against people for defamation because they said she used the cream and the clear while she maintained that she did not. Marion created the mess that she now finds herself in and in my opinion she is very lucky that her sentence was so light.

MontanaMomma on

I didn’t deduce that she had gone to jail on charges related to check fraud from CBB’s article. In light of the additional charges, the circumstances change drastically, and it makes more sense why Marion Jones spent six months in jail. CBB ought to include all the facts when reporting.

It is still a real tragedy for the children involved, and hopefully they recover from this separation.


When the “six-month-sentence” link is clicked, it takes you to the original post with the facts and information, as well as other links.

– CBB Staff

MontanaMomma on

I couldn’t agree more with the comments from the first post regarding Marion Jones:

I completely disagree with almost everyone’s comments on here. i think to say “she did the crime…” is completely insensitive. I work in the court systems and I see people go away for 6 months for much more serious crimes where there were victims involved. And this is not someone who society would benefit from by having in jail. I think it shows how little the court system values human life and family life. We would all as a society be much better if this woman was on probation or doing community service and being able to be a good mother for her family outside of jail. And that would certainly fit her “crime” better
Posted by: juliana at Jan 17, 2008 9:04:30 AM

This is the result of an overzealous government with vendettas against successful athletes. Marion Jones taking steroids has not effect on me or my family and she didn’t kill anyone. She lied to the feds but is it their business in the first place? NO! Now she is about to spend six months away from her kids at my and your expense (all taxpayers). And why is she going to jail when folks like Mark McGuire and Roger Clemmens are walking around free? Our government’s priorities are in the wrong place!!!
Posted by: J-Lin at Jan 17, 2008 9:58:23 AM

Not to absolve her of her wrongdoing. But all I will say is this: there is something very corrupt about a judicial system where non-violent offenders (such as Martha Stewart and Marion Jones) are treated more harshly than drunk drivers (like 95% of Hollywood) who endanger TONS of lives with their negligence.
Posted by: Erica at Jan 17, 2008 10:29:13 AM