Twenty years ago this summer Marion Jones was on top of the world after winning three gold medals and two bronze medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Eight years later, Jones had been stripped of her medals and was sitting in a Texas prison. Where is Marion Jones today?
Marion Jones and her Olympic career
Marion Jones was a highly rated two-sport high school star in California who dominated in basketball and track. Jones received an athletic scholarship in basketball and moved cross country where she attended the University of North Carolina to play basketball and run track. She helped the basketball team win a national title her freshman year.
While at North Carolina, Jones started dating C.J. Hunter, one of the track coaches. Due to university rules pertaining to coach-athlete relationships, Hunter resigned his position so he and Jones could continue dating. Jones graduated from UNC in 1997 and the two married the following year. Hunter, who was a shotputter, and Jones trained together in preparation for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.
When the Olympics finally arrived, Hunter tested positive for a banned steroid in four different pre-Olympic drug tests. While Hunter had already withdrawn from competition due to a knee injury, Olympics officials also took away his credentials and banned him from serving as his wife’s coach. Not surprisingly, questions arose about Jones and whether or not she was clean.
Despite the huge cloud hanging over her head, Marion Jones performed well in her five Olympic events. She won three gold medals (100m and 200m sprint, and 4x400m relay) and two bronze medals (long jump and 4x100m relay). She would later be stripped of all of her medals.
The downfall of Jones and her career
In 2002, Hunter and Jones divorced. She blamed the breakup in part because Hunter’s positive testing for steroids tainted her image. A couple of years later, and after having a son with boyfriend sprinter Tim Montgomery, Marion Jones participated in the 2004 Athens Olympics but failed to medal.
Near the end of that year, BALCO founder and steroids mastermind Victor Conte told a national audience on ABC’s 20/20 that he had personally given Jones four different illegal performance-enhancing drugs before, during, and after the 2000 Sydney Games. Jones denied the allegations.
For the next two years, Jones continued competing while denying any involvement with steroids. In 2006, she was also linked to a check-cashing scam that led to criminal charges against her now former boyfriend Montgomery.
In October 2007, with the pressure mounting, Marion Jones had a change of heart. She finally came clean in court. She admitted to lying to federal agents under oath about her steroids use before the 2000 Olympics. She also admitted to the check-cashing scheme. She pled guilty to both charges and faced up to five years in prison. In a press conference that followed the court proceedings, Jones announced her retirement.
Where is Marion Jones today?
On January 11, 2008, Marion Jones was sentenced to six months in prison. Two months later, Jones reported to Federal Medical Center, Carswell prison in Fort Worth. She remained incarcerated until her release in September 2008.
In 2009, Jones decided to return to her roots and made herself eligible for the WNBA. Jones played for the Tulsa Shock during the 2010 season where she averaged 2.6 points and 1.3 rebounds per game. She was waived the following season.
Jones now 44, lives in a suburb north of Austin, Texas, where she runs her own business and is a personal trainer with Camp Gladiator, a workout program and movement headquartered in Austin.