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As part of her punishment, Marion's competition times were wiped from the record books, and she was forced to give back her medals from the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Marion says representatives of the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Track & Field came to her house to retrieve the medals. "It wasn't as difficult to give back the medals because it's not about the hardware, it was about that memory. That memory is what will be tarnished," she says. "I remember crossing the line and looking up and seeing my mother and seeing my family, just the pride in their faces."

Marion says she sometimes thinks about how different her life would be if she had never taken "the clear." How much did the drug really affect her performance? Could she have won those medals without it? "And I usually answer yes, I still think I would have won," she says. "But just the fact that there's a question mark, to me, is not fair [to the other athletes]."

In her tearful press conference, Marion specifically apologized to many people for letting them down. She did not, however, apologize to her sprint relay teammates—even though they were later stripped of their medals because of her doping. Marion says that omission was not on purpose, but due to the fact that her focus was on her family. "I didn't make the choice not to," she says. "It just got blended in with everything else. That whomever I have hurt, whoever has [been] hurt because of this, I apologize."

Marion says she was not opposed to giving her own medals back and did so before her incarceration. She only found out that her teammates would have to give back theirs during her time in prison. "To have to give up your gold medals is horrible, but it comes down to I made a choice to lie. My intent was never to harm them," she says. "When I stepped on the track with them in Sydney, I thought we were going for the gold medal, and everybody on that track was drug-free, including myself. I never stepped on that track with the intent to try and cover anything up and help them to win by doing something illegally. So I apologize to everybody that my choice to lie has affected—including them."
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FROM: Former Olympic Medalist Marion Jones' First Interview After Prison
Published on October 27, 2008

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