This is the 56th submission in a long series about Marion Jones, a former elite sprinter who won (stole) honour and earned (stole) endorsements, fame and fortune by method of fraud.
This story is being told in its entirety, because Marion Jones is unable to do it herself. Though parts of this story may be historical in nature, they are of essense to the sum of the whole insofar as they tell a story of a woman who is more complicit in the BALCO affairs and her own drug-taking than she has led on.
Associated Press reports on Saturday, 2007-June-16, stated that Marion Jones was “conspicuously absent” from the 2007 season, and quoted Riddick as stating that, despite the fact that Marion Jones eluded to the fact that she was pregnant in February, he was “almost sure” she wouldn’t be planning on competing that season, stating that he would have known if she was.
One compelling reason that this would prove to not have been like Marion Jones to give up and walk away is that if Marion Jones took a course of action of removing herself from the sport, she would have kicked, scratched, threatened and apparently lied at all the wrong moments in time in defending herself during the BALCO investigation.
She returned to the sport after birthing her (first) son to the world, and rose up from the turmoil brought her way by way of Trevor Graham and his syringe. Her multi-million dollar lawsuit should have been saved for WADA, the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory or some other entity which more “damaged” her reputation than did Victor Conte, Jr. did on a television show.
Marion Jones told The New York Times that she had cleared herself from the BALCO scandal, but is feeling the effects of the latest mud-slinging as a very rude-awakening for her – something of which she said, “this is different.”
“I’ve defended myself against this. I said I never used performance-enhancing drugs. I’m for a drug-free sport. This is the final straw. This is what I stood up for and fought for.”
Marion Jones, to the contrary, did not stand up for anything in this, her most crucial test to date until Friday afternoon, 2007-October-5. She had earlier kept herself hidden in private – with her family, and out of the media spotlight.
Her family deserved to hear about Marion Jones on her own, and not from the USA Today or CNN she stated in her circulated e-mail.
Marion Jones contended that her previous defence against challenges brought up by USADA and Victor Conte were manageable, “but the rest of it is getting too heavy.” One should have had a very clear understanding by this point that “it’s” not getting too heavy, “it” is getting too close – the “it” being Marion Jones’s inability to manage to keep shut the grave of lies she has buried beneath the surface – which most likely seem to be her financial problems.
Marion Jones was equipped with her first – and biggest – saving grace by way of not having to testify on trial record of her connections to Conte or to Graham (though she was made available by the U.S. government for Graham's trial), nor having to defend the connections to Montgomery and Gaines which were brought out in Grand Jury testimony, but not accounted for in their CAS Panel cases.
The brush with a positive test turns negative is what has become Marion Jones' thorn in her side, though she stated the accusations were what was causing her to consider calling it a career at this point.
“There will always be people who doubt and suspect. When I can’t run anymore, even if I run until I’m in my 40’s and retire, even then, people will say, ‘We finally got her out of the sport.”
Marion Jones effectively removed herself from the sport following her criminal plea, and there are few who follow the sport closely save a few Master’s competitors, who would want to entertain the thought of having her compete in that era of her life.
People had doubted and suspected Marion Jones for the past nine years – with everything from whispers to televised interviews claiming her guilt, yet those suspicions did not prevented Marion Jones from stepping on to the track with both feet firmly set in the starting block.
One who spends his hard-earned money on this line of reasoning being sold at the excuse bank should be embarrassed. Marion Jones had a tougher challenge – not an easier one – standing up to Conte, Hunter and the USADA without a positive-turned-negative drugs test redeeming her. Conte made accusations against her, Hunter made statements against her, and the USADA was still considering her a suspect for non-analytical positive testing.
Marion Jones stated she was shocked at the notification of having performance-enhancing drugs in her system, and did not cite the reason of that shock as being the accusations which could be manifested from the revelation of that test.
Marion Jones stated on “Good Morning America”, Friday, 2006-09-08, that she was going to sit back and relish in the fact that her name had been cleared. Fifteen days later, on Saturday, 2006-09-23, she states that the rollercoaster ride has been too difficult, and her name will never be cleared from the stain of being labelled a drugs cheat, and later having that label removed by means of a scientific testing process – one which she stated proved she had never taken a performance-enhancing drug.
The CAS Panel was never able to dispute this fact, neither was a court of law in a trial case – as neither made it to a stage or point which could have involved direct testimony from people of whom charges had been filed...people who had direct or dotted-line connections to Marion Jones.
The truth would have been a painful exposure to Marion Jones, as the CAS Panel would have used witness testimony from people whom others had cast off as unable to tell the truth.
The CAS Panel acted on information provided as truth by Kelli White, who had been discovered to have a propensity to lie in given circumstances. The quantity and quality of those evidences uncovered by the truth-teller – who apologised and showed visible signs of remorse – incriminated other cheats, who, in their turn refused to testify about the truths in the matter.
White, deemed to have told the truth, testified against
The truthfulness of
Montgomery’s truths reveal connections to Marion Jones, who, in her turn, denied every claim made against her in her own “truthful” statements made to the Grand Jury – statements which Conte said would come back to haunt her.
Had Marion Jones’s singular truth, “I have never used performance-enhancing drugs,” been measured against the quantitative and qualitative truths spoken of others in testimony which incriminated her, both directly and indirectly, Marion Jones’s truth would not contain the breadth or measure of points to effectively withstand further scrutiny.
Bearing that in mind, the USADA had not completed its investigation of Marion Jones before her surrender, despite the fact that she had stated she has never taken drugs or having supported drug-taking by any means.
The USADA appeared to have measured the weight quality of those truths spoken by others – and revealed in Federal documents – against Marion Jones, and had concluded that Marion Jones was connected to drugs taking. The burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt was on the USADA, and they had been unable to act without hesitation on the whole – or in part – of the evidences it had collected in the absence of testimony.
The CAS Panel and a potential Conte trial had an opportunity to reveal information about Marion Jones, but a refusal by both Montgomery and Gaines to discuss in detail with the CAS Panel the nature of their truth-telling to the Grand Jury, and the failure to move Victor Conte into a trial stage, saved each and every one of them from making a dotted pattern to Marion Jones become a solid line in a public case.
Victor Conte created, through his own admissions and statements to Special Agent Novitzky and Special Agent Mike Wilson, truths which were later corroborated in both quantity and quality by athletes brought in to witness of their connections to Conte.
Those accounts and evidences created probable cause to believe Conte had concealed illegal proceeds from an unlawful activity and utilising a third-party person to negotiate checks written as payment for the purchase of the performance-enhancing drugs as well as trafficked drugs across state lines.
Conte went so far as to withdraw his motion to suppress critical evidence collected in the case, leading to the cancellation of a court hearing that had the potential of having Novitzky, considered one of the government's most important witnesses, provide testimony on the stand.
Conte, considered truthful in his statements to the agents, offered to strike a plea agreement – one which is believed to have Conte corroborate and/or explain the documents collected about BALCO or his statements made concerning.
Conte’s counsel stated on record – in a memo to Mr. Bush, Attorney General John Ashcroft and three federal prosecutors – that Conte wanted to make a plea to cooperate with the government in exchange for charges against him to be dropped. Conte stated that he was willing to reveal everything he knows about officials, coaches and athletes in order to help to “clean up the Olympics.”
Ashcroft had, in a press release issued 2004-February-12, and stated that performance-enhancing drug usage fostered a lie that great performances could be bought rather than earned.
Led by attorney Robert M. Holley, Legal Counsel for Conte, the following was attributed to Conte in a direct plea to Mr. Bush, stating among other things:
“We, all of us, need to do everything possible to send a clean Olympic team to
It is not publicly known what the private plea bargain entailed – or if Mr. Bush or the Attorney General played any part in the proceedings. What has been stated is that Conte has been truthful during the process.
Conte’s attorney, Mary McNamara, said in a prepared statement following the proceedings:
“Mr. Conte has always accepted responsibility for the conduct reflected in this plea agreement and is looking forward to putting the case behind him.”
Conte, himself, had maintained the same position in 2006 that he had when interviewed by ESPN The Magazine back in 2003: A man who wanted to do something simply because he could. Conte was interviewed by two New York Post reporters in September 2006 while on the SNAC premises – the site where BALCO offices once occupied space. Conte’s words appear to mirror that which he had stated all along:
“I feel like I was the guy born for this job. And you know what that job is?” he asks. “To tell the truth.”
This statement was preceded by one made in 2005, where Conte stated he was qualified to quash the problem, because he was at the core of the controversy, and a major contributor to it.
Victor Conte’s appeal to the highest level to change the sport and his complete willingness to participate in that transformation by providing information relevant to the case can be construed as either grandstanding or a true act of willingness to participate. Conte had enjoyed playing at the top of the mountain.
One who didn’t appreciate being on the dark side of the sport was Kelli White.
“I felt that to do this (drug use), I had to become someone totally different than I was. I had to compromise my integrity, my value system. I knew it was so wrong.
“I look at that person and I'm like, 'That's not Kelli White. That's not who I am, who I started out to be.’”
White, in a story written by USA Today’s Dick Patrick, stated she felt betrayed by a coach with whom she reunited, and was provided drugs without her consent and she contends that Korchemny played clueless when he was indicted for BALCO involvement. She reveals to reporters in a Manhattan conference room in 2004-December that her performance-enhancing drugs usage began after her having later falling behind due to injury and seeing a rival athlete compete well at the 2003 USATF Indoor National Championships.
Despite the foregone conclusion that both White and Conte, two people who had stated they would like to clean up the sport have been deemed cheaters, and have broken a rule in society which is sacred to harmony and trust with others – with White also being deceived by Conte, they have both stated on record – in understandable second-grade terms, that they admit to their wrongdoings, and want to set the record straight as far as drug cheating and performance-enhancing drugs is concerned.
Collins and Chambers had also publicly gone forward with their stories and had attempted to reveal the sport for what it is – though Chambers maintained a working relationship with Conte for legal ZMA products according to Conte.
(Chambers went on record in May 2007 stating that he believed an athlete using performance-enhancing drugs would have to have “a very bad day” in order to be beaten by a clean athlete – an assertion which prompted outcry from both Sebastian Coe, who, in response to Chambers, stated, “I've been saying for the last 25 or 30 years that if you systematically set out to cheat, then you don't have a place in legitimate sport.”)
 The New York Times, “Jones Tired of Running With Weight of Suspicion”, 2006-09-26
 The New York Times, “Jones Tired of Running With Weight of Suspicion”, 2006-09-26
 San Francisco Chronicle, “Letter from Victor Conte’s attorney”, 2004-06-16
 New York Daily News, “Conte muscles back”, 2006-09-24
 USA Today, “Sprinter reveals career demise”, 2004-12-02
 The Scotsman, “Chambers should be banned for life, says Coe”, 2007-06-04