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Archive for Friday, October 5, 2007

Jones admits steroid use

Sprinter used ‘the clear,’ Washington Post reports

October 5, 2007

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— Marion Jones admitted using steroids before the 2000 Olympics in a recent letter to close family and friends, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Jones, a triple gold medalist in Sydney, said she took "the clear" for two years, beginning in 1999, and that she received it from former coach Trevor Graham, the newspaper reported. Graham told her it was flaxseed oil.

"The clear" is a performance-enhancing drug linked to BALCO, the lab at the center of the steroids scandal in professional sports.

Until now, Jones had steadfastly denied she ever took any kind of performance-enhancing drugs. She took that stance in speaking with reporters at the 2005 Kansas Relays.

Jones is scheduled to appear in U.S. Southern District Court today to plead guilty to charges in connection with her steroid use, a federal law enforcement source told the Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, and would not provide specific details.

"I want to apologize for all of this," the Post reported, quoting a person who received a copy of Jones' letter and read it to the paper. "I am sorry for disappointing you all in so many ways."

In her letter, Jones said she'd used performance-enhancing drugs until she stopped training with Graham at the end of 2002.

She said she lied when federal agents questioned her in 2003, panicking when they presented her with a sample of "the clear," which she recognized as the substance Graham had given her.

"Red flags should have been raised when he told me not to tell anyone," the Post reported, quoting the letter.

The admission could cost Jones the five medals she won at the Sydney Olympics. Though she fell short of her goal of winning five gold medals, she came away with three and two bronzes and was one of the games' biggest stars.

Darryl Seibel, spokesman for the U.S. Olympic Committee, declined comment on whether Jones would lose her medals until legal proceedings are completed.

She was one of several athletes, including home run king Barry Bonds, to testify before a San Francisco federal grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative.

Jones' former boyfriend Tim Montgomery, also testified before the grand jury, and was given a two-year ban for doping in late 2005.

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