Disgraced sprinter Jones reports to jail

Former Olympic champion Marion Jones has reported to a Texas jail, US Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Traci Billingsley said.

updated: March 08, 2008 08:59 IST
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Fort Worth:

Former Olympic champion Marion Jones, sentenced in January to six months prison for lying about using steroids, has reported to a Texas jail, US Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Traci Billingsley said.

"Yes, that's confirmed," Billingsley said adding that the 32-year-old athlete reported shortly before noon to the Federal Medical Center-Carswell, a correctional facility in Fort Worth, where she was assigned the inmate number 84868/054.

Jones, who has been stripped of the three gold and two bronze medals she won at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, was sentenced to six months in jail and two years of probation for lying to federal investigators about her use of performance-enhancing drugs and about a check-fraud scheme that involved her former partner - Tim Montgomery.

Jones had been told she had until March 11 to begin her sentence.

In sentencing Jones, US District Court Judge Kenneth Karas said the athlete had not made "a momentary lapse in judgment, a one-time mistake, but instead a repetition in an attempt to break the law," adding "nobody is above the legal obligation to tell the truth".

In court, Jones had asked the judge to spare her jail time for the sake of her two young sons.

Jones captured gold in the 100- and 200-meters at Sydney and helped the 4x100m relay to gold as well, confirming her status as an international sports superstar. She was also a five-time world champion.

Her humiliating fall from grace began when she admitted in October to lying to federal agents during the course of the BALCO steroid distribution probe.

The admission came after years of vehement denials, and she went so far as to sue BALCO founder Victor Conte when he accused her of being a dope cheat.

Evidence mounted that her glorious career was steroid tainted. Still she denied wrongdoing, even qualifying for the 2004 Athens Olympics in the long jump.

But when faced with charges of lying to federal agents about taking steroids and about her role in the fraud scheme, Jones made a tearful confession, admitting she used BALCO's designer steroid THG from September of 2000 to July of 2001.

All Jones' results since September 1, 2000, have been stricken from the records and Jones has been banned from competition by the IAAF, the sport's governing body, even though she announced in October her decision to retire.