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Jones, Marion 1975–

Marion Jones 1975–

Track & field athlete

Marion Jones has gone from enjoying the accolades heaped on the world's fastest female athlete to facing the harsh consequences of using illegal performance-enhancing drugs. By the time she was twenty-two years old, Jones was considered the number-one female athlete in track and field, an achievement made all the more remarkable by the fact it was her first year of competition in the sport. From the basketball court to the track and the long-jump pit, Jones sailed, seemingly effortlessly, to success in all of her athletic endeavors. Speculation regarding her use of performance-enhancing drugs surfaced during her appearance in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. She vehemently denied using steroids and tested negative for them, but by late 2007 she admitted to using the drugs and has since been stripped of her five Olympic medals. In January of 2008 Jones, with her athletic legacy in ruins, was sentenced to six months in prison on charges of perjury.

Jones was born on October 12, 1975, in Los Angeles. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she was raised by her mother, Marion Toler, a medical-legal transcriptionist who had immigrated to the United States from Belize. As a child living in Thousand Oaks, CA, Jones participated in many sports. “I've always liked to do a lot of things,” she told Frank Litsky of the New York Times. “As a kid, I did ballet and tap dancing and soccer and baseball and tee ball [and gymnastics].” She began participating in organized track at age seven and basketball in the sixth grade.

Jones was first attracted to running and jumping while watching track superstars Evelyn Ashford, Carl Lewis, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee on television as they competed in the 1984 Olympics. It was Florence Griffith Joyner, though, who truly motivated her. “After seeing Flo-Jo in Seoul,” Jones told Jon Hendershott of Track & Field News, “I wrote on a blackboard, ‘I want to be an Olympic champion.’ I just always believed it was in my future to compete in the Olympics.” Even as a small child, she knew she would be someone special. “I knew from about age five that someday I would do something special in life. I had no idea what or when, but I just knew I would.”

Jones caught the attention of the sports world when, as a freshman at Rio Mesa High School in Oxnard, California, she won the state track titles in the 100- and 200-meter events. In 1991, as a sophomore, she ran the fourth-fastest 200-meter time recorded that year by any woman in the country. As a junior, she missed the cutoff for the 200-meter Olympic team by just .07 seconds. By the time she graduated from high school in June of 1993, her stellar performances included an undefeated record in high school competition after her freshman year and the national high school record in the 200-meter sprint. In recognition of her achievements she received two High School Athlete of the Year awards, the only athlete to win the award more than once, and many heralded her as one of the greatest female high school track and field athletes ever.

Starred on the Basketball Court

But the 100- and 200-meter dashes and the long jump were not the only venues where Marion Jones let her athleticism and drive shine. In addition to her success at the track, Jones also starred as the shooting guard on the Rio Mesa Spartans varsity basketball team, averaging 24.6 points per game, and she was named California Division I Player of the Year during her senior year.

When she entered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), Jones became determined to participate in both basketball and track rather than focus all of her energies on one sport. Recruited on a basketball scholarship in 1993, she switched to point guard on the basketball court, started as a freshman, and immediately helped to lead the Tar Heels to the 1994 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Women's Championship title. She also set the Atlantic Coast Conference record for steals by a freshman (111) and the UNC record for points by a freshman (494). As a sophomore, she continued her success, becoming the first player in UNC women's basketball history to score one thousand points by her sophomore season.

At a Glance …

Born Marion Lois Jones on October 12, 1975, in Los Angeles, CA; daughter of George Jones and Marion Toler; dual citizenship with Belize; married C. J. Hunter (shot putter), October 3, 1998 (divorced, 2001); married Obadele Thompson, February 24, 2007; children: Timothy Montgomery Jr.; (with Thompson) another son. Education: Rio Mesa High School, Oxnard, CA, 1991; Thousand Oaks High-School, Thousand Oaks, CA, 1993; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, BA, journalism and mass communications, 1997.

Career: Sprinter and long jumper. Won the 100m and 200m at California state meet, 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1993, and long jump, 1993; won 100m at World Championships (10.83 seconds); second leg on gold medal 4 x 100m relay, ranked #1 in world at 100m and 200m, and #2 in United States in long jump, 1997; won 400m at Mt. SAC (50.36 seconds); won 100m (10.72 seconds), 200m (22.24 seconds), and long jump (23-8) at USA Championships; won 100m (10.90 seconds) and 200m (21.80 seconds) at Goodwill Games; won 100m (10.83 seconds) and long jump (23-4.75) at Grand Prix Final; won 100m (10.65 seconds, her personal best) and 200m (21.62 seconds, her personal best) at World Cup; unprecedented consistency with 17 of 19 100m races under 10.90 seconds; ranked #1 in world in 100m, 200m, and long jump, 1998; won gold medal in 100m and bronze medal in long jump at World Championships, 1999; won gold medals in 100m, 200m, and 1,600m relay, and bronze medals in 400m relay and long jump, at Olympic Games, 2000; won gold medals in 200m and 4 x 100m relay at World Championships, 2001; won 100m at Gaz de France, 2006; stripped of all results and medals earned after September 1, 2000, by the International Association of Athletics, 2007.

Selected awards: High School Athlete of the Year, 1991 and 1992; California Division I Player of the Year, basketball, 1991; Woman of the Year, Track & Field News, 1997; International Amateur Athletic Federation Athlete of the Year, 1997, 1998; Athlete of the Year, Track & Field News, 1998; Owens Awards, Outstanding U.S. Female Track and Field Athlete, 1998; first female track and field athlete to win five gold medals at an Olympic Games, 2000; named female athlete of the year by several news organizations, 2000; Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly (ESPY) Award, ESPN, Best Female Track and Field Athlete, 2002.

Addresses: Agent—c/o Vector Sports Management Ltd., 355 E. Price St., Bldg. A2, Keller, TX 76248.

Despite the concerns regarding her dual commitments outside of the classroom, Jones's times in track indicated that she could handle the challenge: At the 1994 NCAA track and field championships, just five weeks after the close of the basketball season, she placed second in the long jump and became an All-American in the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints, the long jump, and the 4 x 100-meter relay. Jones did not meld well, however, into North Carolina's track program, and she failed to progress as a sprinter or jumper. With sights still set on competing in the Olympics in 1996, Jones planned to focus solely on track during the 1995-96 season. Her hopes were dashed, though, when she broke a bone in her left foot in August of 1995 while playing basketball in the World University Games. Not only did she miss the entire basketball season, but the injury also severely curtailed her Olympic training schedule. When she broke the bone again in December of 1995, her aspirations for the 1996 Olympics were dashed as well.

Jones did ultimately return for the 1996-97 basketball season and helped her team advance to the regional semifinals in the NCAA postseason tournament, a feat that her teammates had not been able to accomplish in their season without her. In all, she helped the Tar Heels to win three Atlantic Coast Conference championships and a national title. She graduated from North Carolina in May of 1997 with a degree in journalism and mass communications and chose to forego her remaining year of athletic eligibility. In retrospect, Jones indicated to Dick Patrick of USA Today, “I went into Carolina wanting to succeed in both sports. After my sophomore year and not doing as well as I wanted in track, I guess I unconsciously put a lot more emphasis on basketball. Then came the injuries. I never had a chance to see what I could do at Carolina in track.” Nor had she ever concentrated her preseason training on track; rather, she was running on the basketball court instead. “I went right into track each spring using just my basketball training,” Jones explained to Hendershott, “so I never had a real background for track.”

Rededicated Energies to Track

After graduation, Jones's athletic career took a turn as she decided to focus solely on track, foregoing potential opportunities to play in one of the two new women's professional basketball leagues. Watching her fiancé, and future husband C. J. Hunter excel in shot put at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics certainly helped to trigger Jones's renewed concentration on track, for she remained convinced of her own Olympic potential. Sure only of her commitment, Jones struggled with how to pursue her dream. According to Jamaican track star and coach Trevor Graham, “I was working [at St. Augustine's track in Raleigh, North Carolina] and C. J. asked me if I could come over and help her with her technique a bit. I walked over and tried to show her different things. Then C. J. said, ‘She's all yours. You go ahead. She has learned so much more in five minutes than what she has learned all of her life. Go ahead, she's yours.’” From that brief interchange emerged the successful coach-athlete partnership between Graham and Jones.

Jones's determination and her work with Graham quickly paid dividends. After just three months of training consistently, she captured the 100-meter title at the 1997 USA Outdoor Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana, with a time of 10.90 seconds. At the same meet she also dethroned Olympic great Jackie Joyner-Kersee in the long jump, becoming the first woman in nine years to win both events at this meet. The meet not only thrust Jones back into the limelight, but the contacts that she fostered there also indelibly marked her. Most importantly Jones was overwhelmed by Joyner-Kersee's response to her. “I heard nothing but nice words from her,” Jones told Track & Field News. “She's even asked to help me with the long jump. I really learned a lot about the sport from my relationship with her.”

Jones continued her success that year by winning the 100-meter sprint and helping to set a new American record as part of the 4 x 100-meter relay team at the World Championships in Athens, Greece, making her the only athlete to win two gold medals there. She further set a meet record in the 100-meter sprint at a competition in Berlin in August. By the end of 1997, she had won all five of the 200-meter races she contested and had received numerous accolades from sports writers worldwide. As the culmination of her phenomenal season, Track and Field News bestowed her with the prestigious recognition of Female Athlete of the Year, and that in only her first season on the European circuit. It appeared that Jones had not lost a step during the years she had devoted to basketball.

Jones started the 1998 season stronger than ever before: Without the dual competing demands of school and basketball, she was in the best track shape of her life. This momentum propelled her right back into the spotlight in which she had shone the previous year. She quickly established a new American record in the 60-meter sprint (6.95 seconds) at the Gunma International competition in Japan in March of 1998, anchored the Nike International team to a new American record in the 4 x 200-meter relay at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia in April (1:29:64 minutes), and became the second-fastest woman in the world behind Florence Griffith Joyner when she ran 10.71 seconds in the 100-meter sprint at a meet in Chengdu, China, in May. She continued to race to success at the USA Outdoor Championships in New Orleans, winning the 100-meter, 200-meter, and long jump events to become the first woman since 1948 to win all three events at this meet. And the results continued to pour in: Goodwill Games records en route to top finishes both in the 100-meter and 200-meter events in July; completion of the sweep of the 100-meter event in all Golden League events that season with a victory at the Grand Prix Finals in Moscow in September; and meet records established in the 100-meter (10.65 seconds) and 200-meter (21.62 seconds) events at the World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September. The only blemish on her record was her loss to Germany's Heike Drechsler in the long jump finals, breaking her streak of thirty-seven consecutive first-place finishes in sprint and long jump finals at the World Cup. Her dominance in sprints, long jump, and as a member of the relay team invited comparisons to Carl Lewis and Jesse Owens, whose own careers had been marked by their versatility and excellence in those events. Once again, she was named Track and Field News's top woman athlete.

By all accounts, Jones pumped new life into track and field in the United States, where interest and attendance had been dropping. Even more, says then fellow competitor Zundra Feagin-Alexander, “she's stepped into the void that people like Flo-Jo left. She's showing the other women that you can be great. She's an inspiration.” Jones herself recognized the importance of her accomplishments both for female athletes and for the sport of track and field in general. As she explained to Track & Field News, “I feel I'm helping all women athletes improve. I love the idea that they're readjusting to my level. I want women to see that such high goals are real and attainable.” In addition, she told Alpheus Finlayson, “I hope to bring a level of awareness to the public in the U.S. that we are athletes just like the NBA, NFL, NHL stars and deserve to be recognized.”

Analyzed Elements Behind Her Success

Many observers offered explanations for Jones's greatness. Her coach was quick to illuminate her all-consuming dedication to her training and her sport. “Marion literally never has missed a day of practice,” noted Graham in an interview with Hendershott. “And she is never late,” not even on the morning before surgery to remove her wisdom teeth. Her “secret,” commented Hendershott, is that “beneath her radiant smile and outgoing manner is a relentless drive to succeed, a white-hot intensity to learn just how good she can become.” Toward this end, Jones trained only with men, pushing herself to compete at their level. “I was atomboy,” Jones explained. “I always ran around with my brother and his friends. So from a very young age, I knew that I had to work a bit harder just to keep up with them, let alone ever beat them. I guess that drive became imbedded in me.” Graham further credited Jones's success to her ability to focus. As he told Hendershott, “She grasps what I'm trying to teach her. She knows how to run a certain time, how much effort to put into a race to run a time like 10.70.”

Jones's agent Charley Wells summarized her success in this way: “Marion never takes anything for granted, on the track or off.” Jones further described herself to Hendershott in this way: “As a competitor I've always found a challenge for myself and then worked to get the very best out of myself so I can achieve that goal. But in general, I always just want to run faster or jump farther in a competition than I did in the one before.” As she discussed in another interview with Track and Field News, “One of the things that attracted me to this sport so much is that everything is on me. If I don't win the race, some athletes can blame the coach; but ultimately it comes down to you.”

In the late 1990s Jones's desire to succeed was unrelenting. “I want to achieve the things I've dreamed all my life,” Jones matter-of-factly declared in an interview with Jere Longman of the New York Times. “I want to be world champion, an Olympic gold medallist, and a world record-holder. I plan to be around until I achieve all those.” Jones passed on her first offer for the Olympics, an alternate spot on the 1992 4 x 100-meter relay team when she was only fifteen year old. “Looking at the big picture, I didn't want to rush things,” she said, and instead opted to pursue additional math courses during the summer.

In 1999 Jones entered the World Championships in Seville, Spain, determined to win four gold medals. During the 200-meter semifinals, however, she developed severe back spasms that not only prevented her from winning the race but also convinced her to withdraw from the rest of the competition. Jones won a gold medal in the 100-meter event and a bronze medal in the long jump and ended the season in disappointment. Speaking to Sports Illustrated, she concluded: “I've learned to listen to my body more.” Meanwhile, C. J. Hunter won a gold medal in the shot put, placing one of the best performances of his life.

In preparation for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Jones said in interviews that she was hoping to win top honors in five events: the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, long jump, the 4 x 100-meter relay, and the 4 x 400-meter relay. At the Olympic trials in Sacramento, California, Jones took top honors in the 100- and 200-meter events and qualified for the long jump. On September 24, 2000, Jones won the 100-meter event in 10.75 seconds to claim the gold medal. She also achieved a record for the second-biggest winning margin in 100-meter history, by finishing 0.37 seconds before her closest competitor.

Accused of Steroid Use

Jones won three gold medals—100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 4 x 400-meter relay—and two bronze—4 x 100-meter relay and long jump—in the 2000 games, falling short of her initial goal but still setting a milestone as the first woman to win five medals at a single Olympic Games. Shortly after her first gold medal win, news surfaced that her husband's urinalysis revealed that he had been using the performance-enhancing supplement nandrolone. Hunter denied the charges and claimed that the results were skewed because he had been taking iron supplements, a statement that was supported by his nutritionist. Some began to suspect that Jones might also have been using illegal performance-enhancing drugs, though Jones vehemently denied using steroids, and drug tests cleared her of any charges.

Jones and Hunter divorced in 2001, and shortly thereafter Jones began living with Olympic sprinter Tim Montgomery, who came to national attention when he broke the world record for the 100-meter dash in 2002. Jones competed in the 2001 World Championships but was unable to recapture her success from the Olympics and failed to win a medal in the 100-meter dash for the first time in more than six years. Jones went on to claim gold, though, in both the 200-meter dash and 4 x 100-meter relay. The athlete took time away from training after she became pregnant, and her first child, Tim Montgomery Jr., was born in June of 2003. After a brief sabbatical, Jones returned to training in preparation for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Jones's performance in the 2004 Olympics was disappointing as she failed to qualify for the 100-meter dash and withdrew from the 200-meter event before competition. Though Jones qualified to compete in the long jump, she placed fifth and shortly thereafter withdrew from the games. She said in interviews that she planned to return to training in preparations for the 2005 World Championships and that she was confident she would be able to compete at the 2008 Olympic Games.

While Jones's performance was disappointing, boyfriend Montgomery failed to qualify for the games and was shortly thereafter accused of having used performance-enhancing drugs. The accusations came as part of an investigation into the activities of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), operated by nutritionist Victor Conte, who later admitted to having given performance-enhancing steroids to a number of athletes including Montgomery. Montgomery denied using steroids, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport eventually found him guilty, banned him from competition for a period of two years, and stripped him of all medals received after 2001.

While Jones's boyfriend was struggling through his arbitration, BALCO's Conte appeared in an interview in which he claimed to have given Jones performance-enhancing steroids during and prior to the 2000 Olympic Games. During the media investigation her former husband, C. J. Hunter, also alleged that Jones had used steroids at times during her career. Though the accusations brought Jones under public scrutiny, she denied the charges, and, because she had passed all previous drug tests, no action was taken against her. In late 2005 Jones and Montgomery ended their relationship.

Jones was largely inactive during 2005 but returned to the track circuit in 2006 for a North American and European tour. In early June of 2006 Jones posted her best results in the 100-meter dash since her 2000 Olympic performance and won the 100-meter race at the Gaz de France. On June 23 it was reported that Jones had tested positive for the illegal performance-enhancing drug erythropoietin in a urine sample. Jones cancelled her tour and returned to the United States to challenge the charges. In interviews Jones denied having used steroids, and a second urine sample eventually cleared her of the charges though Jones had already forfeited her tour.

In February of 2007 Jones was married to Barbadian sprinter Obadele Thompson after becoming pregnant with his child. While her family life progressed, Jones's professional life was plagued by continuing suspicion regarding steroid use. Jones was forced to retain legal aid in an effort to clear her name. Though she was once one of the highest-paid women in sports, her inability to bring in revenue due to the charges and mounting expenses took a toll on her finances. In June of 2004 a bank foreclosed on Jones's mansion in Durham, North Carolina, and she was also forced to sell her second home and the home of her mother in an effort to settle her debt.

Succumbed to Scrutiny

Under growing pressure, Jones decided in October of 2007 to give a press conference in which she admitted to having used steroids and to having lied during interviews by federal investigators. “I want to apologize to you all for all of this,” Jones said in a brief public announcement, as quoted by Amy Shipley of the Washington Post, shortly after she pled guilty to two counts of lying to federal investigators, “I am sorry for disappointing you all in so many ways.” According to Jones, she was initially unaware that she had been taking steroids—her nutritionist told her he was giving her flax seed oil—but says she later learned that the substance was tetrahydrogestrinone (THG). The drug in question was undetectable until 2003 when authorities gained a sample of THG during their investigations of BALCO. Jones agreed to testify against former coach Graham, who was reportedly responsible for distributing THG to a number of athletes.

The International Association of Athletics determined in November of 2007 that Jones would be stripped of all results and medals earned after September 1, 2000, and that she would be required to return the $700,000 in prize money awarded for her Olympic accomplishments. Jones was also suspended from all professional competition until 2009 and was subject to federal penalties for hindering their investigation. In January of 2008 Jones was sentenced to six months in prison.

In the 1990s Jones reached the upper echelons of prominence for female athletes. In the seven years after her performance at the Olympics Games in Sydney, Jones not only lost her status as a sports icon but also lost the financial security that she had won through her many years of dedication to sports. Jones could only ask her fans and supporters for their forgiveness, realizing that her place in sports history would be inextricably tied to the scandal.

Selected writings

(With Kate Sekules) Marion Jones: Life in the Fast Lane (autobiography), Warner Books, 2004.

Sources

Periodicals

CNN/Sports Illustrated, August 13, 1998; September 6, 1998; September 10, 1998; September 11, 1998.

Just Sports for Women, 1998.

Newsweek, August 3, 1998.

New York Times, May 29, 1991, p. B10; February 17, 1995, p. B11; June 16, 1997, p. C10; August 4, 1997,p. C1; August 12, 1997, p. B15; October 05, 2007.

Track & Field News, January 1998, pp. 4-6; July 1998, p. 53; January 1999, pp. 32-35.

USA Today, July 31, 1997, p. C3; June 06, 2006.

Washington Post, August 4, 1997, p. D1; October 05, 2007 pg AO1.

Online

“Jones Pleads Guilty, Admits Lying About Steroids,” MSNBC Online,http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21138883/ (October 05, 2007; accessed January 31, 2008).

“Olympic Sprinter Marion Jones Is Broke,” MSNBC Online,http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19404801/ (June 24, 2007; accessed January 31, 2008).

Other

International Amateur Athletic Federation Press Release.

—Lisa S. Weitzman and Micah L. Issitt

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Jones, Marion

Marion Jones

1975-

American track and field athlete

Marion Jones is widely considered to be today's greatest female athlete and one of the greatest athletes of all time. She became the first woman to win five medals in a single Olympics when she won three gold and two bronze medals in the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia. Jones has also won scores of other medals and awards, including being the unanimous choice as Track & Field News 's Athlete of the Year in 1998. Jones played basketball for the Lady Tar Heels at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and may consider a future career in professional basketball, but first she has her sights set on winning track-and-field gold at the 2004 Olympics.

"I Want To Be an Olympic Champion"

Marion Lois Jones was born October 12, 1975, in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of George and Marion Jones. Her mother, a medical and legal secretary, had immigrated to the United States from Belize. When Jones was an infant, her parents divorced, leaving her mother to raise her and her older half-brother, Albert Kelly, alone. In 1983, Mrs. Jones married Ira Toler, whose death four years later of a stroke was a devastating loss to young Marion and her brother.

Jones played T-ball and soccer and took ballet, gymnastics, and tap dancing lessons. By age seven she was participating in organized track events, and by the sixth grade she was playing basketball. In 1984, she was deeply impressed by track stars Florence Griffith-Joyner, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Evelyn Ashford , and Carl Lewis as she watched the Olympic Games on television. She wrote on her blackboard at home, "I want to be an Olympic Champion." Jones later said, "I just always believed it was in my future to compete in the Olympics. I knew from about age five that someday I would do something special in life."

High School Star

In her sophomore year at Rio Mesa High School in Oxnard, California, Jones set a national high school record in the 200-meter, at 22.76, and was named Track & Field News 's Female High School Athlete of the Year. The following summer, she won five state titles and set a U.S. high school record in the 200 meters (22.58 seconds). Playing basketball for Thousand Oaks High School her junior and senior years, she also trained with Mike Powell, world-record holder in the long jump. During 1992, her first year to try the long jump, she leapt twenty-three feet, the second-longest jump ever made by a high school girl, at the state championships. In June 1992, at age sixteen, Jones tried out for the Olympics and missed making the U.S. team by only .07 second. Jones received the Gatorade Circle of Champions National High School Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year Award in 1991, 1992, and 1993. She was the only athlete to win the award more than once and the first non-senior to win the award.

As a senior basketball player, Jones won the California Interscholastic Federation Division I Player of the Year award. Thousand Oaks had a 60-4 record the two years that Jones was on the team and won the state championship in 1992. Her success in both track and basketball won her an athletic scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she would play both sports.

Tar Heels Point Guard

As a 5'11" point guard with the Lady Tar Heels at UNC, Jones developed a natural leadership role and earned the nickname "Flash" for her speed with the ball. The team won North Carolina's first national championship in 1993-94. Winning All-American honors in track the following season, Jones came back in the 1994-95 basketball season to help her team finish 30-5.

In August 1995, however, Jones broke the fifth metatarsal bone in her left foot while practicing basketball at the World University Games. Missing the 1995-96 season, she broke the bone again in December while training on a trampoline. The injury dashed her 1996 Olympic hopes. While recuperating, she began dating shot putter C.J. Hunter. Her family and friends disapproved of the relationship, but Jones and Hunter would marry in 1998.

Chronology

1975 Born October 12 in Los Angeles, California
1976 Parents divorce
1983 Family moves to Palmdale, California; mother marries Ira Toler
1987 Ira Toler dies of a stroke, leaving wife to raise Marion and her brother alone
1988 After watching Seoul Olympics, Marion writes on her blackboard, "I want to be an Olympic champion."
1991 Sets national high school record in the 200-meter dash and receives invitation to appear on Good Morning America ; mother moves the family to Thousand Oaks, California, so Marion can play basketball for Thousand Oaks High School; runs the year's fastest high school girls' 100-meter dash, at 11.14 seconds
1992 At state championship meet, Jones records long jump of 23', the second longest ever made by a high school girl; misses qualifying for the 1992 Olympics by only .07 second; declines offer to be an alternate on U.S. Olympic team
1993 Offered scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to play basketball; mother moves to Chapel Hill
1994 Lady Tar Heels win National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship, 60-59; earns All-American honors in four events at NCAA track-and-field championships
1995 Breaks metatarsal bone in left foot while practicing with U.S. basketball team at World University Games in August; misses entire basketball season; in December, breaks same bone again while working out on a trampoline
1996 Becomes engaged to shot putter C. J. Hunter; is unable to recover from foot injury in time for 1996 Olympic Trials; returns to play with Lady Tar Heels for 1996-97 season
1997 In March, announces she will not play with Lady Tar Heels during last year of athletic eligibility but will instead concentrate on track and field; begins training with Trevor Graham, a Jamaican track medalist in 1988 Olympics; graduates from University of North Carolina in May, wins two events at U.S. national championships, defeating Jackie Joyner-Kersee in long jump; signs a contract with Nike soon afterward
1998 Wins three gold medals at U.S.A. Outdoor Track & Field Championships, becoming first woman in fifty years to accomplish that feat; sets personal best time of 10.65 seconds in 100-meter at World Cup, fourth fastest time in history; marries Hunter on October 3
1999 Wins every 100-meter and 200-meter race she enters until world championships in August
2000 Sets much-publicized goal of winning five gold medals in 2000 Olympics at Sydney, Australia; Nike airs series of "Mysterious Mrs. Jones" television ads, in which Marion asks why women professional athletes earn less than men; wins her first Olympic gold medal, in 100-meter dash, with a margin of .37 seconds, second greatest margin in Olympic history; two days later, news breaks that husband C. J. Hunter failed tests for use of a steroid drugHunter denies it; Jones wins a total of three gold and two bronze medals at Sydney, the most by any woman in a single Olympiad
2001 Announces that she will file for divorce from Hunter, citing irreconcilable differences; loses the 100-meter for the first time in four years, to Zhanna Pintusevich-Block, of Ukraine, but reclaims her title in September at Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia; films public service announcements at the Olympic Sport and Immunization Festival in Accra, Ghana
2002 Records first undefeated season of her track-and-field career; debuts as CBS network television sports analyst; in December, announces she will leave coach Trevor Graham and work with Canadian Derek Hansensidebar text

Jones returned to play basketball with the Lady Tar Heels in the 1996-97 season. The team finished the season at 29-3.

Full-Time Track

By the spring of 1997, Jones decided to devote herself solely to track and field. She began training with coach Trevor Graham, a Jamaican who was a silver medalist in the 1988 Summer Olympics. Jones won the 100-meter dash and defeated Joyner-Kersee in the long jump at the 1997 U.S.A. Outdoor Track & Field Championships. At the 1997 World Championships, she won gold in the 100 meters and as part of the 4 × 100-meter relay team.

In the 1998 U.S.A. Championships, Jones won the gold in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, and the long jump. It was the first time in fifty years that a woman had achieved these three wins in a single competition. Jones was undefeated in every competition she entereda total of thirty-six-until the last one, the World Cup, where Heike Drechsler of Germany beat her in the long jump. She married Hunter in October. By the end of the year, Jones was the unanimous choice as Track & Field News 's Athlete of the Year. She was only the third athlete to be chosen unanimously, after Carl Lewis and the Polish athlete Irena Szewinska.

Olympics Bound

The 1999 season again brought Jones consistent victories in the 100-meter and 200-meter, until she was forced to withdraw from competition because of back spasms while running the 200-meter during the World Championships. Seeking four gold medals in that competition, she brought home only one gold and one bronze.

As the time neared for the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Jones announced to the press that she wanted to win five gold medals, one in each event she entered. The news made headlines around the world, because no woman had ever won five golds in a single Olympics. (American swimmer Amy Van Dyken became the first woman to win four gold medals, in the 1996 Games.) NBC promised to cover Jones's quest "like a miniseries."

"The Dream for Five Is Not Alive"

Jones got off to a blazing start at the Olympics in Sydney, winning a gold in the 100-meter final, with a time of 10.75 seconds, .37 second over silver medalist Ekaterini Thanou of Greece. Jones's winning margin was the second largest in Olympic 100-meter history. On winning her first gold, Jones sobbed, "It's been my dream for 19 years, and finally it's here." She went on to win the 200-meter final by the largest margin since Wilma Rudolph won it in 1960; Jones won the gold with a time of 21.84 seconds. She and her team also took gold in the 4 × 400-meter relay. However, Jones won a bronze medal in the long jump, after fouling four times, with a distance of 22'8.5". She and another team also took a bronze in the 4 × 100-meter relay, after missing some baton handoffs. Jones passed two runners on her leg of the relay, helping to win the bronze.

After her quest was over, Jones told reporters, "The dream for five is not alive." However, she had no regrets in going for the five gold medals and said she felt the Games were an overall success. She said the fans "are what I'm really going to remember."

Awards and Accomplishments

The Laureus Sports Awards, presented at the Sporting Club of Monaco for the first time in 2000, celebrate sporting excellence across all disciplines and all continents.
1991 Set national high school record of 22.76 in 200-meter dash at U.S. Senior Track and Field Championships
1991-93 Received Gatorade Circle of Champions National High School Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year Award, only athlete to win award more than once
1993 Named California's Division I Player of the Year for basketball
1994 Named All-American in four events at National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Track and Field Championships
1997 Named Most Valuable Player in Atlantic Coast Conference as member of Lady Tar Heels basketball team at University of North Carolina; won 100-meter dash at U.S.A. Outdoor Track & Field (USATF) Championships and at World Track and Field Championships; ranked #1 in the world in 100-meter and 200-meter races and named Woman of the Year by Track & Field News ; International Amateur Athletic Federation Athlete of the Year
1998 Won 100-meter and 200-meter dash and long jump at U.S.A. Outdoor Track & Field Championships, first woman to win all three since Stella Walsh in 1948; won World Cup in 100-meter and 200-meter; anchored Nike international team to a new American record at 4 × 200-meter relay at Penn Relays; gold medals, 100-meter and 200-meter dash at Goodwill Games; gold medal in Grand Prix Finals in Moscow; ranked #1 in the world in 100-meter, 200-meter, and long jump by Track & Field News and unanimously chosen Athlete of the Year; won USATF's Jesse Owens Award for Outstanding U.S. Female Track and Field Athlete; International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) Athlete of the Year
1999 Won first place in 100-meter and 200-meter at U.S.A. Outdoor Track & Field Championships; won gold medal in 100-meter and bronze in long jump at World Championships
2000 At 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, won gold medals in 100-meter, 200-meter races and 4 × 400-meter relay and won bronze medals in long jump and 4 × 100-meter relay; won first place in 200-meter dash at U.S.A. Outdoor Track & Field Championships; named World Sportswoman of the Year at the first Laureus Sports Awards in Monaco; named Athlete of the Year by Associated Press, ESPN cable television network, Reuters News Service, and the IAAF
2001 Named Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year; won first place in 200-meter dash at U.S.A. Outdoor Track & Field Championships; finished first in 200-meter dash and second in 100-meter at World Championships; won 100-meter dash at Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia, with a time of 10.84 seconds, breaking her own record set in 1998
2002 Gold medal in 100-meter dash at World Cup; won fifth-straight national title in 200-meter dash and fourth-straight in 100-meter dash at U.S.A. Outdoor Track & Field Championships; undefeated season in track and field, first of her career; won ESPN's Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly (ESPY) Award as Best Female Track and Field Athlete

Trouble at the Games

Only one event threatened to mar the 2000 Olympics for Jones. Two days after her 100-meter win, news broke that her husband had failed four tests over the preceding summer for use of the steroid nandrolone. Although he did not compete in the 2000 Olympics because of knee surgery, the news was unsettling for Jones. She gracefully fielded questions at a press conference, telling reporters that all those closest to her knew she was "a clean athlete." Hunter denied the accusations that he had used drugs to help him compete, and Jones supported him. However, by June 2001, Jones announced that she and Hunter were divorcing due to irreconcilable differences that had nothing to do with Hunter's two-year suspension due to the positive drug tests.

Looking to the Future

After the 2000 Olympics, Jones has continued to compete and win, although she lost the 100-meter to Ukrainian Zhanna Pintusevich-BlockJones's first 100-meter loss in four yearsas she was going through the separation from Hunter. She reclaimed her 100-meter title at the Goodwill Games and brought home her fourth 200-meter championship in the U.S.A. Outdoor in 2001. In 2002 she took the 100-meter and the 200-meter titles in that event and recorded the first undefeated season of her career. Awards and honors continued to pour in, and Jones made her debut as a television sports analyst with CBS in January 2002.

In December 2002, Jones made the disturbing announcement that she would no longer work with longtime coach Trevor Graham, switching to the tutelage of Canadian Derek Hansen. Hansen was rumored to be an associate of Charlie Francis, who damaged Olympic champion Ben Johnson 's career by putting him on a steroid program. A photo of Francis working with Jones later gave credibility to the rumors.

Marion Jones is one of the most gifted athletes, male or female, of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. With her talent, leadership ability, and fresh good looks, she has become an inspiration to young women athletes the world over. They will be watching her in the 2004 Olympics, when Jones will be only twenty-eight and likely to win multiple gold medals. From there, who knows how far she will go.

"There Is Nothing Stopping Me Except Me"

From the beginning this much was clear: Jones was a natural. By age five she was trouncing her older brother at every game they played in their desert neighborhood of Palmdale, Calif. By eight she was winning the 100-yard dash and the 400 meter in youth track meets and leading her teamsT-ball, baseball and soccerto victory. "I knew very early on that I was a bit different," Jones says. Her mother saw it too, and she devoted herself to helping Marion's talent find its niche. "Anything I had interest in my mom said, 'Well, let's join it. If you don't like it, we'll move on.'" In 1984, when the Olympic Games came to L.A. and Evelyn Ashford won the 100 meter and the 4×100 meter, Jones set her first big goal: to win Olympic gold.

Source: Reifer, Susan. Sports Illustrated Women, September 1, 2002, p. 90.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Address: U.S.A. Track and Field, One Hoosier Dome, Suite 140, Indianapolis, IN 46225.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Books

Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 21. Edited by Shirelle Phelps. "Marion Jones." Detroit: Gale Group, 1999.

Newsmakers 1998, Issue 4. "Marion Jones." Detroit: Gale Group, 1998.

Sports Stars, Series 1-4. "Marion Jones." Detroit: UXL, 1994-98.

Periodicals

"10 Greatest Women Athletes." Ebony (March 2002): 74.

"Breaking the Tape: Track: Marion Jones's Dream Ended in the Long-Jump Pit, but Her Five Medals Secured Her Place as Fastest Woman Alive." Newsweek (October 9, 2000): 54.

Deitsch, Richard, et al. "Scorecard." Sports Illustrated (December 30, 2002): 25.

Deitsch, Richard. "Speedy Learner." Sports Illustrated (January 14, 2002): 28.

Layden, Tim. "Ever Greene: Outrunning Injury as Well as a Brilliant New Challenger, Maurice Greene Claimed a Third 100-meter World Title, While Marion Jones Lost for the First Time in Four Years." Sports Illustrated (August 13, 2001): 44.

"Marion Jones and Tiger Woods Named AP Athletes of the Year for 2000." Jet (January 15, 2001): 53.

"Marion Jones Invincible in 200 Meters; Blacks Win National Titles." Jet (July 8, 2002): 52.

"Marion Jones, Tiger Woods and Pele Feted at Laureus Sports Awards in Monaco." Jet (June 12, 2000): 51.

"More Victory for Jones." Jet (July 19, 1999): 50.

"Parting Ways." Jet (June 25, 2001): 48.

"Record-Breaking Race." Jet (September 24, 2001): 52.

Reifer, Susan. "'There Is Nothing Stopping MeExcept Me': Marion Jones, the fastest woman on earth, takes on her toughest competitor ever." Sports Illustrated Women (September 1, 2002): 90.

Starr, Mark. "Whatever Happened to? After Sydney, Marion Jones Searches for the Limelight." Newsweek (August 6, 2001): 53.

Other

2002 ESPY Awards. http://www.espn.go.com/espy2002/ (July 11, 2002).

Ledbetter, D. Orlando. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online. http://www.jsonline.com/ (October 1, 2000).

"Marion Jones' Final Count: Three Golds, Two Bronzes." SportsLine.com Wire Reports. http://cbs.sportsline.com/ (October 1, 2000).

"Project Promotes Immunization, Right to Play, for Children; Dorothy Hamill, Marion Jones, Team Up With Olympic Aid and the Vaccine Fund." PR Newswire. http://galenet.galegroup.com/ (February 6, 2002).

Sports Illustrated Scrapbook. "Marion Jones." CNN Sports Illustrated. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/ (January 22, 2003).

U.S.A. Track & Field. "Marion Jones." http://www.usatf.org/athletes/ (January 23, 2003).

Sketch by Ann H. Shurgin

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Jones, Marion 1975–

Marion Jones 1975

Track and field athlete

At a Glance

Sources

Marion Jones is in perpetual motion, and yet she makes excellence seem easy. After all, she was considered the number one female athlete in track and field by the time she was 22-years-old, and that in only her first year of competition. From the basketball court to the track and the long jump pit, Jones has sailed to success in all of her athletic endeavors.

Marion Jones was born on October 12, 1975 in Los Angeles. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she was raised by her mother, Marion Toler, a medical-legal transcriptionist who had immigrated to the United States from Belize. As a child living in Thousand Oaks, California, Jones participated in many sports. Ive always liked to do a lot of things, she told Frank Litsky of the New York Times. As a kid, I did ballet and tap dancing and soccer and baseball and tee ball [and gymnastics]. She beganparticipating in organized track at age seven and basketball in the sixth grade.

Jones was first attracted to running and jumping while watching track superstars Evelyn Ashford, Carl Lewis, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee on television as they competed in the 1984 Olympics. It was Florence Griffith Joyner, though, who truly motivated her. After seeing Flo-Jo in Seoul, Jones told Jon Hendershott of Track & Field News, I wrote on a blackboard, I want to be an Olympic champion. I just always believed it was in my future to compete in the Olympics. Even as a small child, she knew she would be someone special. I knew from about age five that someday I would do something special in life. I had no idea what or when, but I just knew I would.

Jones first attracted the attention of the sports world when, as a freshman at Rio Mesa High School in Oxnard, California, she won the state track titles in the 100-and 200-meter events. In 1991, as a sophomore, she ran the fourth-fastest 200-meter time recorded that year by any woman in the country. As a junior, she missed the cutoff for the 200-meter Olympic team by just .07 seconds. By the time she graduated from high school in June of 1993, her stellar performances included an undefeated record in high school competition after her freshman year and the national high school record in the 200-meter sprint, which she still holds. In recognition of her achievements she received two High School Athlete of the Year awards, the only athlete to win the award more than once, and many heralded her as one of the

At a Glance

Born Marion Lois Jones October 12, 1975 in Los Angeles; mother Marion Toler, brother Albert Kelly; dual citizenship with Belize; married C.J. Hunter (shot putter) October 3, 1998. Education: Rio Mesa High School, Oxnard, CA 1991; Thousand Oaks High School, CA, 1993; University of North Carolina, B.A., Journalism/Mass Communications, 1997.

Career: Sprinter, long jumper. Won the 100m and 200m at California state meet, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, long jump, 1993; won 100m at World Championship (10.83 seconds); second leg on gold medal 4x100m relay, ranked #1 in world at 100m and 200m, #2 in U.S. in long jump, 1997; won 400m at Mt. SAC (50.36 seconds); won 100m (10.72 seconds), 200m (22.24 seconds), long jump (23-8) at USA Championships; won 100m (10.90 seconds) and 200m (21, 80 seconds) at Goodwill Games; won 100m (10.83 seconds) and long jump (23-4.75) at Grand Prix Final; won 100m (10.65 seconds, her personal best) and 200m (21.62 seconds, her personal best) at World Cup; unprecedented consistency with 17 of 19 100m races under 10.90 seconds; ranked #1 in world in 100m, 200m, long jump, 1998.

Awards: High School Athlete of the Year, 1991, 1992; holds national high school record in the 200m; California Division I Player of the Year, basketball, 1991; ranked #1 in the world at 100m and 200m races by Track & Field News, 1997; Woman of the Year, Track & Field News, 1997; ranked #1 in world at 100m, 200m, and long jump by Track & Field News, 1998; Athlete of the Year, Track & Field News, 1998; Owens Awards, Outstanding U.S. Female Track and Field Athlete, 1998; International Amateur Athletic Federation Athlete of the Year, 1997, 1998.

Addresses: Vector Sports Management Ltd., 355 East Price Street, Bldg. A2, Keller, TX 76248.

greatest female high school track and field athletes ever.

But the 100-and 200-meter dashes and the long jump were not the only venues where Marion Jones let her athleticism and drive shine. In addition to her success at the track, Jones also starred as the shooting guard on the Rio Mesa Spartans varsity basketball team, averaging 24.6 points per game, and she was named California Division I Player of the Year during her senior year.

When she entered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), Jones became determined to participate in both basketball and track rather than focus all of her energies on one sport. Recruited on a basketball scholarship in 1993, she switched to point guard on the basketball court, started as a freshman, and immediately helped to lead the Tar Heels to the 1994 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Womens Championship title. She also set the Atlantic Coast Conference record for steals by a freshman (111) and the UNC record for points by a freshman (494). As a sophomore she continued her success, becoming the first player in UNC womens basketball history to score 1,000 points by her sophomore season.

Despite the concerns regarding her dual commitments outside of the classroom, Jones times indicated that she could handle the challenge: at the 1994 NCAA track and field championships, just five weeks after the close of the basketball season, she placed second in the long jump and became an All-American in the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints, the long jump, and the 4 x 100-meter relay. However, Jones did not meld well into North Carolinas track program, and she failed to progress as a sprinter or jumper. With sights still set on competing in the Olympics in 1996, Jones planned to focus solely on track during the 1995-1996 season. However, her hopes were dashed when she broke a bone in her left foot in August of 1995 while playing basketball in the World University Games. Not only did she miss the entire basketball season, but the injury also severely curtailed her Olympic training schedule. When she broke the bone again in December of 1995, her aspirations for the 1996 Olympics were effectively broken as well.

Jones did ultimately return for the 1996-1997 basketball season and helped her team advance to the regional semifinals in the NCAA post-season tournament, a feat that her teammates had not been able to accomplish in their season without her. In all, she helped the Tar Heels to win three Atlantic Coast Conference championships and a national title. She graduated from North Carolina in May of 1997 with a degree in journalism and mass communications and chose to forego her remaining year of athletic eligibility. In retrospect, Jones indicated to Dick Patrick of USA Today, I went into Carolina wanting to succeed in both sports. After my sophomore year and not doing as well as I wanted in track, I guess I unconsciously put a lot more emphasis on basketball.

Then came the injuries. I never had a chance to see what I could do at Carolina in track. Nor had she ever concentrated her pre-season training on track; rather, she was running on the basketball court instead. I went right into track each spring using just my basketball training, Jones explained to Hendershott, so I never had a real background for track.

After graduation, though, Jones athletic career took a turn as she decided to focus solely on track, foregoing potential opportunities to play in one of the two new womens professional basketball leagues. Watching fiancé, and now husband, C.J. Hunter put the shot at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics certainly helped to trigger Jones renewed concentration on track, for she remained convinced of her own Olympic potential. Sure only of her commitment to track, Jones struggled with how to pursue her dream. According to her current coach, Trevor Graham, a Jamaican track star himself, I was working [at St. Augustines track in Raleigh, NC] and C.J. asked me if I could come over and help her with her technique a bit. I walked over and tried to show her different things. Then C.J. said, Shes all yours. You go ahead. She has learned so much more in five minutes than what she has learned all of her life. Go ahead, shes yours. From that brief interchange emerged the successful partnership between Graham and Jones.

Jones determination and her work with Graham quickly paid dividends. After just three months of training consistently, she captured the 100-meter title at the 1997 USA Outdoor Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana with a time of 10.90 seconds. At the same meet she also dethroned Olympic great Jackie Joyner-Kersee in the long jump, becoming the first woman in nine years to win both events at this meet. The meet not only thrust Jones back into the limelight, but the contacts that she fostered there also indelibly marked her. Most importantly Jones was overwhelmed by Joyner-Kersees response to her. I heard nothing but nice words from her, Jones told Track & Field News. Shes even askedto help me with the long jumpI really learned a lot about the sport from my relationship with her.

Jones continued her success that year by winning the 100-meter sprint and helping to set a new American record as part òf the 4 x 100-meter relay team at the World Championships in Athens, Greece, making her the only athlete to win two gold medals there. She further set a meet record in the 100-meter sprint at a competition in Berlin in August. By the end of 1997, she had won all five of the 200-meter races she contested and had received numerous accolades from sports writers worldwide. As the culmination of her phenomenal season, Track & Field News bestowed her with the prestigious recognition of Female Athlete of the Year, and that in only her first season on the European circuit. It appeared that Jones had not lost a step during the years she had devoted to basketball.

Jones started the 1998 season stronger than ever before: without the dual competing demands of school and basketball, she was in the best track shape of her life. This momentum propelled her right back into the spotlight in which she had shone the previous year. She quickly established a new American record in the 60-meter sprint (6.95 seconds) at the Gunma International competition in Japan in March of 1998, anchored the Nike International team to a new American record in the 4 x 200-meter relay at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia in April (1:29:64 minutes), and became the second fastest woman in the world behind Florence Griffith Joyner when she ran 10.71 seconds in the 100-meter sprint at a meet in Chengdu, China in May. She continued to race to success at the USA Outdoor Championships in New Orleans, winning the 100-meter, 200-meter, and long jump to become the first woman since 1948 to win all three events at this meet. And the results continued to pour in: Goodwill Games records en route to top finishes both in the 100-meter and 200-meter events in July; completion of the sweep of the 100-meter event in all Golden League events that season with a victory at the Grand Prix Finals in Moscow in September; and meet records established in the 100-meter (10.65 seconds) and 200-meter (21.62 seconds) at the World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa in September. The only blemish on her record was her loss to Germanys Heike Drechsler in the long jump finals, breaking her streak of 37 consecutive first-place finishes in sprint and long jump finals at the World Cup. Her dominance in sprints, long jump, and as a member of the relay team invited comparisons to Carl Lewis and Jesse Owens, whose own careers had been marked by their versatility and excellence in those events. Once again, she was named Track & Field News top woman athlete.

By all accounts, Jones has pumped new life into track and field in the United States, where interest and attendance have been dropping. Even more, says fellow competitor Zundra Feagin-Alexander, shes stepped into the void that people like Flo-Jo left. Shes showing the other women that you can be great. Shes an inspiration. Jones herself recognizes the importance of her accomplishments both for female athletes and for the sport of track and field in general. As she explained to Track & Field News, I feel Im helping all women athletes improve. I love the idea that theyre readjusting to my level. I want women to see that such high goals are real and attainable. In addition, she told Alpheus Finlayson, I hope to bring a level of awareness to the public in the U.S. that we are athletes just like the NBA, NFL, NHL stars and deserve to be recognized.

Certainly many explanations lie behind Marion Jones greatness. Her coach is quick to illuminate her all-consuming dedication to her training and her sport. Marion literally never has missed a day of practice, noted Graham in an interview with Hendershott. And she is never late, not even on the morning before surgery to remove her wisdom teeth. Her secret, commented Hendershott, is that beneath her radiant smile and outgoing manner is a relentless drive to succeed, a white-hot intensity to learn just how good she can become. Towards this end Jones trains only with men, pushing herself to compete at their level. I was a tomboy, Jones explained. I always ran around with my brother and his friends. So from a very young age, I knew that I had to work a bit harder just to keep up with them, let alone ever beat them. I guess that drive became imbedded in me. Graham further credits Jones success to her ability to focus. As he told Hendershott, She grasps what Im trying to teach her. She knows how to run a certain time, how much effort to put into a race to run a time like 10.70.

Ultimately, Jones greatest motivation comes from within. Her agent, Charley Wells, summarized her success in this way, Marion never takes anything for granted, on the track or off. Jones further described herself to Hendershott in this way: As a competitor Ive always found a challenge for myself and then worked to get the very best out of myself so I can achieve that goal. But in general, I always just want to run faster or jump farther in a competition than I did in the one before. As she discussed in another interview with Track & Field News, [O]ne of the things that attracted me to this sport so much is that everything is on me. If I dont win the race, some athletes can blame the coach; but ultimately it comes down to you.

What lies in store next for this track superstar? I want to achieve the things Ive dreamed all my life, Jones matter-of-factly declared in an interview with Jere Longman of the New York Times. I want to be world champion, an Olympic gold medallist, and a world record-holder. I plan to be around until I achieve all those. Jones passed on her first offer for the Olympics, an alternate spot on the 1992 4 x 100-meter relay team when she was only 15-years-old. Looking at the big picture, I didnt want to rush things, she said, and instead opted to pursue additional math courses during the summer. Her goal this time, lofty as always, is to win four gold medals at the 1999 World Championships and to win five gold medals at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, in the 100-meter, 200-meter, long jump, 4 x 100-meter relay, and 4 x 400-meter relay. Track and field pundits even believe that Jones might be the person capable of breaking the world records in the 100-meter (10.49 seconds) and the 200-meter (21.34 seconds) sprints. Given her talent and her inner fire, these goals all seem within the realm of possibility.

Sources

Periodicals

CNN/Sports Illustrated, August 13, 1998; September 6, 1998; September 10, 1998; September 11, 1998.

Just Sports for Women, 1998.

Newsweek, August 3, 1998.

New York Times, May 29, 1991, p. B10; February 17, 1995, p. B1l; June 16, 1997, p. C10; August 4, 1997, p. C1; August 12, 1997, p. B15.

Track & Field News, January 1998, pp. 4-6; July 1998, p. 53; January 1999, pp. 32-35.

USA Today, July 31, 1997, p. C3.

Washington Post, August 4, 1997, p. D1.

Other

International Amateur Athletic Federation Press Release.

Lisa S. Weitzman

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