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Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones: Vol. 45

Story by Eric.

This is the 45th 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.

This section is titled, "'Bad company', said the thief, as he went to the gallows between the hangman and the monk."

Marion Jones’s decisions to engage the companies of known cheaters was not “suspect”, rather those decisions made her a suspect, and have made a moot point of her statements to the effect of, “Its very simple. I have always been against drugs in sport.”

Taking a stand against drugs in sport also required taking an active stand away from drugs in sport. Marion Jones’s perceived reality was that she made a couple of choices not consistent with the norm – something which evidently was just a small little issue with which she dealt.

Dr. Steven Ungerleider, author of the book, “Faust’s Gold” – a book about East Germany’s doping program, on the other hand stated to The New York Times that Marion Jones needed to take complete responsibility for her associations.

I think she's a very decent person, Ungerleider said. Having said that, I'm a bit saddened because she's made some very bad decisions. We all have to be real careful who we associate with. We are entering a new threshold of integrity, where it is no longer sufficient for an athlete to sign a disclosure form saying that he or she is drug free. Athletes at the elite level have to take complete responsibility for their behaviour.”[1]

One such person with whom she had not yet parted ways until her retirement due to banishment is her coach Riddick, who also coached Montgomery at Norfolk State and again five years later during the beginning of the BALCO investigation before picking up Marion Jones the following spring (2005).

One is led to believe again that there is no suspect association, and that Marion Jones was oblivious to what the connection to Riddick could entail.

Riddick’s personal claims to fame were in helping Norfolk State win back-to-back NCAA II titles in 1973-1974, and anchoring the USA Olympic 4x100m team (Harvey Glance, John Jones, Millard Hampton, Riddick) two years later to the gold medal (38,33) in Montréal.

However, a generation removed from his fame, Riddick – who also once held an elite training centre (Norfolk International Training Center, a program founded by Riddick and assistant coach Ron Davis) for sprinters including Montgomery, Brian Lewis, Andre Cason and Chandra Sturrup among others which lost IOC funding 18 months after opening due to complaints made by athletes of unfilled promises – has become a man facing serious accusations in connection with a crime Montgomery has also been accused – and accepted responsibility – of committing.

Riddick, who was found guilty, continues down a path he admitted being on more than 10 years ago, namely one of falsehoods and dishonesty.

Riddick – who purportedly admitted a decade ago on the BBC television programme “On the Line”, that he had “protected status” when undergoing steroid testing in the U.K. [2] and apparently protected by those associations – believes Marion Jones is very important to the sport.

Marion Jones also believed she was important to the sport of track and field despite her known cheating to propel herself to those upper echelons she once occupied.

Marion Jones stated that she could fill stadiums, and that she had a good public following. Yet she, who did not believe that guilt-by-association was a valid reason to have been suspicious of her – she may still believe so – had been surprised to find that public scepticism of her was at epidemic proportions, and at a critical level – having ostensibly never paid attention to them when she was discovered to have failed her “A”-sample test. She has a (now former) coach who supported her same ideology, and had continued feeding off that through a crooked sense of synergy.

Having overlooked the signs on the wall – each one of them pointing to the nearest emergency exit doors, Marion Jones had indisputably continued down a muddy groove leading to her own demise – wondering why God, since she is leaving things up to Him, had not released the wall of waters behind her, allowing the pursuers to follow a previously hidden path.

Why are they trying to ban an athlete who has not tested positive for any banned substances? We're wondering why my name is being dragged into this. I sat and testified in front of the Grand Jury, yes. But the fact that they're trying to ban athletes and whether or not I'm one of them, we don't know. That's what we're trying to find out. And if so, why?[3]

Riddick, as had Marion Jones, appeared to find the play-the-good-girl-wishes-to-tell-all card very well – almost at will.

She's a hell of an athlete,” Riddick told The Associated Press, “and I think people should just leave her alone.

Athletes from every level look up to her,” Riddick said. She's articulate. She's bright. Why try to push her out the door. I can't speak for her but I think she's a great person. I think she's so important to the sport.”[4]

One should not expect Riddick – a talking head, who is in serious trouble himself – to have had a thorough understanding of anything, however, especially when ignorance had been claimed by a score of Marion Jones’s associates and coaches, and even some of her closest companions had already strummed to that tune.

I haven't talked to her,” he said. “I know when she landed, she just sent me a little note that said, I just landed. I'll give you a call later. I'm OK. That is all she said. I'm just the coach. If she wanted to tell me more she will. I don't push it. I really don't have a clue.[5]

Riddick didn’t have a clue, he said, yet he was willing to take a fall behind her if need be and support her like a headless chicken.

Better yet, why believe an athlete who had taken a monstrous jump through the all-time list with little-to-no training, and call that a “steady progression”, as Marion Jones did during a 2004-02-04 interview ahead of the Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in New York?

You, ladies and gentlemen, were asked to do so, because it was stated as being factual by Marion Jones and her entourage, Riddick included.

Marion Jones’s camp appeared to be living in a window-less world where they did not perceive Marion Jones’s actions of biting the hands that fed her, and spiting her faithful disciples as being inherently wrong, and had questioned why Marion Jones, herself, was being persecuted for actions no person on her side considered reprehensible.

The first association mistake Marion Jones made was selecting Trevor Jones as a coach.

Graham the technician put Marion Jones on a fast track to stardom and an even faster lane to suspicion through his own doing according to her.

She blames him for duping her, though the story she concocted about believing he was providing her flaxseed oil instead of a performance-enhancing drug was meant to dupe those who were pre-disposed to believing such carnival affairs.

Graham’s list of drugs-associated athletes – those who have indisputably failed drugs screens – now exceeds space reserved for a “10 Most-Wanted” list. The number of additions to the directory – growing exponentially by the year – is so comically absurd that your reaction to the news of another failed test, indifference, could be forgiven with no questions asked of your love for the sport.

Her second was matrimony with C.J. Hunter, a man with whom she shared a terrific relationship by media accounts, and one with whom she had a very bad falling out following their separation and subsequent divorce.

C.J. Hunter is a known drugs cheat.

C.J. Hunter failed not one, but four drugs tests administered to him in the summer of 2000 – less than two months before the start of the Sydney Olympic Games. He was found to have taken the anabolic steroid nandrolone, and American press were on to rumours about failed drugs tests, but had not yet pin-pointed which athlete had been accused.

Hunter’s managers had vehemently denied allegations that he was the source of those failed drugs tests, and the USATF had stated on record that no positive tests were being processed leading up to the Olympic Games in Sydney.

Consequently, in July of that year during an interview with The New York Times, Hunter said that the Olympics would be his final hoorah, and cited the reason as having been in the sport for 17 years. He went on to state that the less he was in the spotlight, the better. It was also an omen of things to come.

Marion Jones – portraying the part of a supportive wife – defended her husband’s honour and integrity, standing up for him – and beside him – at a press conference he held in Sydney upon what the world believed was the first instance of having learned of his positive drugs tests. Marion Jones stated that she believed in his innocence, hoping due process would run its natural course in setting him free of the allegations of drugs usage. One issue here is that Marion Jones was on performance-enhancing drugs, herself.

However, as a matter of fact with concern to Hunter’s press conference, Marion Jones was in complete knowledge of his having had tested positive, telling AFP reporters that “it’s hard to keep a secret” when asked if she had travelled to the Sydney Olympics knowing that her husband was under a cloud of suspicion. [6]

Two years later, she was divorced from him and estranged – he a witness in an investigation which would impact her welfare in the sport of athletics, and would later cast her into prison.

The Associated Press released the following after the C.J. Hunter drugs revelation:

There have been no reports linking Jones to use of banned performance enhancers. Only time will tell if all she accomplishes in Sydney is somehow overshadowed by her husband's doping case. [7]

Hunter’s doping case didn’t overshadow Marion Jones’s accomplishments. She did that on her own, and Hunter, though not happy that his ex-wife had landed a prison term, felt vindication for having told the complete truth before the Grand Jury.

I certainly think it’s fair to say that whereas C.J. does not relish anyone having to go through this, certainly not someone he was married to ... it is a vindication of the story he told the grand jury, and he testified truthfully.”[8]

Conte, whilst Hunter was being grilled by Marion Jones’s attorneys, stated the following to ESPN The Magazine:

Why was I on that podium [in Sydney, when C.J. Hunter had been informed of testing positive for nandrolone]? C.J. had called me six weeks before the Olympics to ask me to work with Marion. I started providing her with insulin, growth hormone, EPO and the Clear, as well as nutritional supplements. [9]

C.J. Hunter and Marion Jones are tied to BALCO on several levels – most of which comes through testimony provided the IRS agents by Hunter, and other information provided by Tim Montgomery and Victor Conte. Hunter, with no apparent antipathy toward his ex-wife (they separated in 2001 and divorced with confidentiality/non-disclosure agreements in 2002), conceded to Federal investigators Hunter’s first-hand knowledge of drugs usage, and Victor Conte’s direct involvement in helping Marion Jones obtain those drugs.

Furthering that point, Hunter was granted limited immunity in exchange for testimony – which included queries about Marion Jones and Trevor Graham.

Hunter’s limited immunity under the stipulated protective order did not confer blanket protections on all his disclosures or responses to discovery, and the protection it afforded him extended only to the limited information or items that were entitled under the applicable legal principles to treatment as confidential.

Mr. Hunter is cooperating and intends to continue to cooperate with all relevant governmental and law enforcement entities,” Angela L. DeMent, Hunter's lawyer, said. [10]

Graham, on the other hand, stated that he believed Hunter had a bone to pick with Marion Jones, and wanted to corrupt her image by linking her to a drug scheme, which, according to Graham – as quoted above – she had no participation in.

He's like, Here's this substance right here, and it is undetectable,’” Graham says. “'No one can ever find it, blah, blah. Just use this. They can beat Marion. They can beat Tim [Montgomery]. He thought I had a beef with Marion and Tim, but it wasn't like that. He had a beef with them.

He wanted to get back at Marion. He wanted to have one of my athletes beat Marion. … To, like, build someone that can go up against her to beat her. He had some kind of stuff about [how] she's holding money and stuff like that. She owed him money.[11]

C.J. Hunter told the Federal Internal Revenue Service investigators under two June 2004 telephone hearings (the first one occurred June 8) that Marion Jones had used human growth hormone and “the clear” – drugs she received from Victor Conte and Trevor Graham – together with him at the Sydney Olympics four years earlier. The San Francisco Chronicle – the source of this record – reported Hunter also told the IRS investigators that Marion Jones used EPO (a drug which White revealed she, herself, had also taken as a sprinter) and injected herself with insulin – allegations Marion Jones has, naturally, denied.

Hunter told the agents that Jones used several banned substances: insulin; growth hormone; “the clear”; and the endurance-boosting drug EPO. Not only did he watch his ex-wife inject drugs, he said, but he sometimes performed the injections himself.

Hunter stated that he saw Jones inject herself with EPO,” IRS agent Erwin Rogers wrote. “Jones would inject herself in the front waist line area slightly underneath the skin. Graham instructed Jones to inject herself in this area. Initially, Hunter injected Jones because Jones did not want to inject herself in this location.”[12]

Marion Jones staunchly and non-diplomatically defused those allegations, lashing out – through her attorneys – that Hunter was on a revenge-kick, and that he should be discredited as a source due to apparent contradictory statements made by Graham – namely that Marion Jones had never used drugs.

Yeah, C.J. claimed a lot of things, Graham says. I know for a fact Marion didn't do none of that stuff. I can't vouch for Tim. I cannot vouch for him because of certain things and certain evidence.[13]

Marion Jones did, however, take drugs – ones provided by Conte, and to which both Conte and Hunter had previously admitted under oath. Furthermore, Hunter also stated that Marion Jones took EPO – the drug by which she was nabbed in 2006 before 75 days of test separation diminished the return on the second test.

Graham also quoted Marion Jones as stating that she had broken up with Hunter because he was romantically involved with Collins and wrote love letters to Collins – letters which Collins, in turn, showed to Marion Jones.[14]



Sources:

[1] The New York Times, “Jones Is Testing Her Credibility And Her Speed”, 2004-02-04
[2] The Scottsman, “Alas the myth of Ms Jones”, 2005-04-24
[3] San Francisco Chronicle, “THE BALCO CASE”, 2004-06-01
[4] Sports Illustrated, “Sprinter Jones plots return to next week's World Cup”, 2006-09-08
[5] ESPN.com, “Sources’ Sprinter Jones tested positive for EPO”, 2006-08-19
[6] Sports Illustrated, “Jones: ‘It’s hard to keep a secret”, 2000-09-29
[7] Associated Press, Jones now must race under scandal's shadow”, 2000-09-25
[8] The News & Observer, “Jones gets six-month sentence”, 2008-12-08
[9] ESPN The Magazine, ”Last Laugh”, 2003-12-20
[10] The New York Times, “Hunter Is Cooperating In Balco Investigation”, 2004-06-12
[11] ESPN.com, “Trevor Graham isn’t flinching as the walls close in”, 2006-08-09
[12] San Francisco Chronicle, “Olympian accused of doping in Sydney”, 2004-07-23
[13] ESPN.com, “Trevor Graham isn’t flinching as the walls close in”, 2006-08-09
[14] San Francisco Chronicle, “How a syringe ushered in a major sports scandal”, 2004-07-23

All original content and investigative news written and published by EBY in Göteborg, Sverige unless otherwise stated.


This post first appeared on Athletics In The News, please read the originial post: here

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Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones: Vol. 45

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