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Marion Jones pleads guilty in steroids case, will retire

One of the most celebrated track stars in the world, Marion Jones admitted to lying about steroids to the feds and announced she will retire.

Marion Jones pleads guilty in steroids case, will retire The years of denial and pressure are finally lifted of Marion Jones' shoulders, just to be replaced with a life-time guilt, shame and disappointment by millions of fans worldwide. Marion Jones, who won three Olympic gold medals and two bronze, stood in front of the federal judge on Friday and admitted she used steroids. She also pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators when she denied she had used performance-enhancing drugs. Outside of the court, in tears Jones announced she is retiring from the sport.

 "It's with a great amount of shame that I stand before you and tell you that I have betrayed your trust. I have been dishonest and you have the right to be angry with me. I have let [my family] down. I have let my country down, and I have let myself down. I recognize that by saying I'm deeply sorry, it might not be enough and sufficient to address the pain and hurt that I've caused you. Therefore, I want to ask for your forgiveness for my actions, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me," Marion Jones said outside of the courtroom.

 After Friday's court appearance, Marion Jones became the biggest name in sports to be brought down as part of the federal investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, also known as the BALCO case. Baseball legend Barry Bonds is currently under investigation in the same case, grand jury still looking into whether Bonds also lied to the feds.

 According to the federal prosecutor Matt Parrella, a 2003 search warrant at BALCO uncovered  purchases, doping calendars, and various blood-test results connected to Marion Jones and her coach at the time Trevor Graham. The BALCO case has been hunting Marion Jones for years. Tim Montgomery, the father of her son, was stripped of his world record in the 100 meters as part of the BALCO case and Jones herself was one of the athletes testifying in 2003, and going as far as suing the founder of BALCO, Victor Conte, after his allegation that he had seen Marion Jones use the infamous steroid developed by BALCO, often referred to as "the clear". But this denial game is no more and on Friday Marion Jones testified that she has taken "the clear", initially under the impression that she was given flaxseed oil. "I consumed this substance several times before the Sydney Olympics and continued using it after. By November 2003, I realized he was giving me performance-enhancing drugs," Jones said in court on Friday. The International Olympic Committee said they will move quickly to strip Jones of her medals.

 Marion Jones also pleaded guilty to lying about her knowledge of a check-fraud scheme involving Tim Montgomery, her agent Charles Wells and former coach Steve Riddick. All three have been convicted in a scheme to cash millions of dollars worth of stolen or forged checks.

 Court date for sentencing of Marion Jones is set for January 11th 2008.

 Published on 10/06/2007

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