Marion Jones talk to Oprah
CHICAGO – Marion Jones said Wednesday seeing the pain her family and friends endured after she admitted using performance-enhancing drugs outweighed the impact of returning her Olympic medals.
The former Olympic track gold medalist appeared on “,” her first television interview since being sentenced last week to six months in prison for lying to investigators about steroid use and a check-fraud scam.
“I want people to understand that, you know, everybody makes mistakes. … I truly think that a person’s character is determined by their admission of their mistakes and then beyond that, what do I do about it?” Jones said via satellite from, where she lives. “How can I change the lives of people? How can I use my story to change the life of a young person?”
Once the most celebrated female athlete in the world, Jones won three gold and two bronze medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
After long denying she ever had used performance-enhancing drugs, Jones admitted last October she lied to federal investigators in November 2003, acknowledging she took the designer steroid “the clear” from September 2000 to July 2001. “The clear” has been linked to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, the lab at the center of the steroids scandal in professional sports.
Winfrey pressed Jones on the repeated, impassioned denials she made over the years. “You knew at that time, you knew were lying, right?” Winfrey said.
“I made a mistake. I made the choice, at that time, to protect myself, to protect my family,” Jones said. “And now I’ve paid the consequences dearly.”
Jones said she hasn’t told her 4-year-old son yet that she’s going to prison. She also has a younger son. She has until March 11 to surrender.
She admitted she was disappointed that she was not give a probation-only sentence, as she and her attorneys hoped for.
“I put myself in a position to have somebody else determine my immediate future,” she said. “I made that decision. I have to live with it, my family has to live with it. With the grace of God we’ll get through it and come out even better at the other end.”