Thursday, January 17, 2008

Marion Jones talks to Oprah Winfrey

Marion JonesDisgraced sprinter Marion Jones has played down her steroid use and said she "made a mistake".

The 32-year-old athlete was in surprisingly good spirits as she gave her first TV interview since confessing she had lied about her drug use.

"I have no regrets for doing what I did on October 5 and pleading guilty and admitting to the world that I lied, that I made mistakes," she told US talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

Jones, who was sentenced to six months in jail for lying to federal agents about her use of steroids, said she was trying to make up for her mistakes. "Everybody makes mistakes. I truly think that a person's character is determined by their admission of their mistakes," she said.

"Beyond that, what do I do about it? How can I change the lives of people? How can I use my story to change the life of a young person?

"To me now it's really about just looking forward, looking to the future, trying to make this wrong a right."

Jones revealed she had not yet broken news of her jail sentence to her four-year-old son Tim. "I've not told him yet Oprah. My husband and I have spoken about how we're going to go about doing that," she explained.

"As you can imagine, it's a very sensitive topic and we're not dealing with a 15-year-old here, who computes things a different way.

"We're talking about a four-year-old who was upset this morning when his Mommy couldn't drop him off at school.

"It's going to be challenging - he loves Mommy - but we teach our kids to do the right thing and when they make mistakes they're to step up to the plate, tell Mommy and Daddy what you did and let's move forward."

Following her shocking admission on October 5 last year, Jones held a press conference outside a New York courthouse and confessed that she had lied to the world.

The sprinter said watching the tape of that press conference was "absolutely the hardest that you can imagine".

"It's the first time that I've actually watched it. I've made it a point to stay away from it, seeing it on TV, simply because I'm living it," she told Oprah.

"I don't need to be reminded of it by watching the television."

She told the talk show host she told the lies to try and protect her family - but it backfired. "I made a mistake. I made the choice at that time to protect myself and protect my family, and I've paid the consequences dearly," she said.

"It's been a long journey Oprah, and the weight and the baggage of many years of knowing that I've been blessed with a super amount of talent.

"I cannot go on any more with this baggage - lying to the world, lying to God."

She added: "I realize people might not forgive me, but God forgives, and if he can forgive me and I can forgive myself then I'll be okay."

Jones said surrendering her medals and sports titles had "impacted [her] greatly" but was nothing compared to the upset she caused her family.

"The pain and the hurt that my family and friends have had to endure throughout all of this outweighs all of that," she said.

"I've returned the medals, the performances have been taken away, but they bail in comparison to seeing my husband cry, they bail in comparison to seeing my mother have to stand in the courtroom and ball.

"Those things to me mean the most."

She added that she had no grievances with her jail sentence - even though she had hoped to escape with probation. "I think that I should absolutely have to accept responsibility for breaking the law," she said.

"We hoped to use my talents and my blessings in the community. The court, the judge the law decided otherwise.

"Of course I'm disappointed, but I put myself in a position to have somebody else determine my immediate future.

By Owen Williams, Jan 17 2008 © Copyright 2008 - Showbiz Spy

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