Monday, January 14, 2008

Marion Jones gets six-month prison sentence

Marion Jones gets six-month prison sentence

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Washington (dpa) - Olympic three-time gold medalist Marion Jones Friday received a six-month prison sentence for lying about using steroids and a check-fraud scam, media reports said.

Jones, the first woman to claim five medals in an Olympics, could have faced up to 10 years in jail for the offences, and even under a plea deal faced up to 37 months.

"People learn by their mistakes," she said in remarks broadcast after her sentencing.

The 32-year-old sprinter had asked for mercy from the court because of her two young children, one of whom she was still nursing.

The running great pleaded guilty in October to to lying to federal agents about using performance-enhancing drugs. The other offence involved making false statementa about her role in a multi-million- dollar check-fraud scheme involving former boyfriend and fellow sprinter Tim Montgomery.

Her lawyers begged for a probationary, or suspended sentence, saying she had "already lost everything - the only livelihood she has ever known, her professional accomplishments, her financial security and her reputation."

In a letter filed Wednesday, Jones' lawyers said it would be unjust to put Jones in jail and noted other athletes who have received home confinement sentences for similar offences.

The admission of guilt by Jones, whose powerful athletic performances dazzled fans and won her worldwide acclaim, came after years of denials that she had taken performance-enhancing drugs. She took the drugs before the 2000 Olympics in Australia.

She won 100m and 200m golds plus a long jump bronze at the event as well as 4x400m gold and 4x100m bronze.

The International Olympic Committee has stripped her of the five medals, scratched her from the results list and banned her from participating at least in the Beijing Olympics. The results have also been erased by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which banned her for two years and asked her to return all the prize money she had received since October 2000.

02:37 Jan 12, 2008

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