Marion Jones was a track and field athlete known for success at winning three gold medals at the Sidney Olympics in 2000. She was one of the most popular sprinters in the early to mid-2000s. Her reputation was tarnish when in 2007 she admitted to using performance enhancing drugs. From that point on the mass media demonized her. Prior to the 2007 admission, there was media praise on every magazine and newspapers. It is a fact that she did lie about her use, but this does not take away the fact she was a talented athlete. Marion Jones’ situation represents many issues with sports. The first is the cult of the role model. American society in particular holds their athletes to a higher ethical standard when they are flawed just like any other person. Another problem is that the War on Drugs mentality has been introduced to sports. Then there is an element of racial and sex discrimination. Lance Armstrong took steroids, but was never incarcerated. Like Marion Jones, he lied about his use. The only reason he did not face a sentence was because he was a white male. Marion Jones is still more admirable, because she admitted the error of her judgement. Even though she was disqualified for her use in the Sidney Olympics, her World Championship medals were also taken. Even though that was done she will always be one of the best track and field athletes.
Just a fast as the media builds someone up they will tear them down.
This is a photograph from The Daily Telegraph hoping on the media hysteria over steroids.
Marion Jones’ skill did not come from pills or syringes. It was developed through rigorous training. One cannot simply take steroids and expect to win an athletic contest. Marion Jones won the World Championships and Continental Cups with her talent and ability. Calling her a “cheater” seems to be baseless. Throughout modern Olympic history men and women have used various substances. Many just have not been detected. This does not excuse Jones’ actions, but to focus solely on her demonstrates bias. Women come under even more scrutiny, because they are take what is derived from testosterone. This is perceived as a “male” only hormone ( even though women produce lower levels naturally) and women using steroids some how violates nature. For men it seems more acceptable, which is a ludicrous double standard due to the fact anabolic androgenic steroids can pose serious health risks to both men and women. The War on Drugs philosophy is that certain drugs must be banned for the sake of public health. This flawed logic only makes certain drugs more desirable.Trying to prohibit drugs from sports from this perspective seems futile. Marion Jones did violate IOC rules, but no one should pretend that others have not.
The fans are partially to blame for the increase in use. Would people still be amused with sports events if performance levels dropped? The answer is obvious. Fans want see athletes doing feats that are almost superhuman.
Her medals may be gone, but she continues to participate in sports. From 2010 to 2011 she played basketball in the WNBA. The team she played for was the Tulsa Shock. Marion Jones also is a participant in Crossfit. If Marion Jones revealed the truth she may not have went to prison. The people who deserved prison terms more so were the businessmen of the BALCO corporation. This pharmaceutical corporation supplied elite athletes with performance enhancing drugs. Despite her lapse in judgement she will remain an important sports icon.