For two glorious moments last week (O.K., one glorious, one kind
of blah) we knew exactly where Marion Jones stood: first in the
long jump and fifth in the 100 meters at the Prefontaine Classic.
Everything else for Jones--who is trying to fend off federal
investigators intent on linking her to the BALCO steriod
scandal--seemed uncertain and stressful. Not yet accused but
feeling the heat, she asked for a hearing before Sen. John
McCain's Commerce Committee (request denied). She also held a
press conference to proclaim herself clean and announced that she
had passed a polygraph test concerning drugs. The woman who won
five medals at Sydney in 2000 may be burning more calories trying
to remain an Olympic athlete than by actually being one.
And she has only just begun to fight. Jones's autobiography, Life
in the Fast Lane, reaches stores on July 8. In the book she says
she barely knew BALCO president Victor Conte, and one page is
devoted to a statement set in huge red type: I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN
UNEQUIVOCAL IN MY OPINION: I AM AGAINST PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING
DRUGS. I HAVE NEVER TAKEN THEM AND I NEVER WILL TAKE THEM. She
also comes down hard on her ex-husband, shot putter C.J. Hunter,
and her ex-coach Trevor Graham--both of whom may testify against
But Jones's best hope may be a lack of evidence. The U.S.
Anti-Doping Agency has a check for $7,350 from her account
written to Conte and a calendar with abbreviations for what the
agency says are banned drugs. (Jones says that she did not sign
the check and that the calendar does not pertain to her.) "With
just that, USADA doesn't have Jones," a lawyer involved in the
case told SI. "They need someone to explain that evidence. That
is where C.J. or Trevor might come in."
Those two are not likely to be pleased by Fast Lane. Jones writes
that Hunter, who tested positive for steroids in 2000, lied to
her about his drug use, and by the time their marriage ended in
2002, "I began to think the Beauty and the Beast line ... used to
describe us might be right after all." She blames Graham for her
failure to win the long jump in Sydney and alleges he had clients
who were doping. Won't these accusations make them want to strike
back? Jones says she's not worried: "If they tell the truth I
will be cleared."