White Plains, N.Y. Olympic gold medalist Tim Montgomery's once-celebrated life continued its long downward spiral Friday when a federal judge sentenced the former "world's fastest man" to nearly four years in prison for dealing in bad checks.
The judge also warned Montgomery, 33, that the evidence against him "does not appear to be flimsy" in an ongoing case in Virginia, where he is accused of selling heroin. A conviction there would carry a minimum mandatory five-year sentence.
Montgomery, wearing a white T-shirt and baggy pants, lamented the turns his life has taken as he asked Judge Kenneth Karas for leniency just before the 46-month sentence was imposed.
"I've had everything I ever wanted in life," said Montgomery, who won medals in two Olympics and set a record in the 100-meter dash that was later erased because of doping. "I've stood on the top of the mountain." Now, he said, he's rooming with murderers and pedophiles in a Virginia jail.
"The gold medal, all those people cheering, that was part of another world," he said. "In jail, my status is gone."
Montgomery told the judge he had let other people run his life, right down to deciding what to eat for breakfast. And his lawyer, Timothy Heaphy, said Montgomery had been led astray by, among others, track superstar Marion Jones. Jones, who had a son with Montgomery, is serving her own six-month prison term for lying about Montgomery's involvement in the check scam and about her use of performance-enhancing drugs.