10.09.07

Thoughts on Marion Jones

Posted in Doping at 9:23 am by Nicole

“I searched through rebellion, drugs, diets, mysticism, religions, intellectualism and much more, only to begin to find…that truth is basically simple – and feels good, clean and right.”

– Chick Corea (1941-) American Jazz Musician

*****

One of these days I’m going to sit down and write it all out: the journey from innocence to knowledge (and the fight to keep from going from knowledge to cynicism) that I’ve experienced in the world of track and field. It’s been a huge part of my professional life for the past seven and a half years, and still the news of Marion Jones and the reality of what has happened has yet to really sink in. It’s dangerous to write at a time when personal frustration is so high. I didn’t have a close relationship with Marion as some other writers did, and still there is a very personal pain in realizing that all of us, whether writers, other sports professionals, or simply fans of the sport, have been deceived.

Today I wondered how Ron Rapoport, the author of “See How She Runs,” Jones’ biography, was feeling, and I didn’t have to look far: he’s written this insightful piece for the Los Angeles Times on the rise and fall of Marion Jones. It’s hard not to read between the lines of this piece to sense the personal toll it takes on the sport’s writers and close observers when we are deceived so completely by the people we trust to be telling us the truth.

Marion Jones owes a public apology to Travis Tygart and everyone at USADA for calling them a “secret kangaroo court” when they were professionals doing their jobs – and, by the way, when they were 100% right about their suspicions – and their evidence against her. See what I mean about it being a bad idea to write when you’re still hurting from a grave deception? There will be much, much more to say in the run-up to 2008 about the Olympics and drug use, and I hope that for the sake of the sport of track and field, every athlete who has ever doped (are you listening, Ekaterini Thanou?) simply comes forward and tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It’s for the sake of the sport’s future, and for all of the young athletes who need to learn it over and over again: Cheaters never win. And sometimes they take a whole lot of unsuspecting people down with them before they fall.

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