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With the Same Stone

(6 October 2007) - FOR Marion Jones, the burden of the guilt must weigh much more than her five Olympic medals won in Sydney. Her repeated maneuvers to clear herself by pretending to be a drug free athlete have hit rock bottom.

More than a year ago, the reputation and name of the sprinter were tarnished when Jones was forced to withdraw from the Weltklasse Golden League meet in Switzerland, citing "personal reasons." Prior to the competition, her analysis came back positive for Erythropoietin (EPO).

At that time, The Washington Post revealed the incident, breaking the story even before the official statement was issued the following day by the Los Angeles laboratory where her urine sample had been taken on June 23.

In December 2004, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) opened an investigation into allegations presented against Jones, beginning with her testimonies in 2003 before a federal grand jury.

Pandora's Box has now been reopened. The same Washington Post revealed that Marion Jones admitted in letter to her relatives and friends that she had used performance-enhancing drugs - even prior to Olympic Games in Sydney.

"This is a veil the American sprinter can't hide behind," wrote in Juventud Rebelde in August 2006. Everything seemed to indicate that Marion would be sanctioned, stripping her of her medals but leaving a heavy load on her conscience.

"It's with a great amount of shame that I stand before you and tell you that I have betrayed your trust," admitted the 31-year-old runner, according to the American newspaper this past week.

The drug she had used was a synthetic steroid called "the clear," produced at the BALCO laboratories prior to 2000.

Jones asserts that her trainer, Trevor Graham, gave her the steroids, which - while obtained from linseed oil - are considered a synthetic steroid developed by the San Francisco, California laboratory.

Because of the scandal involving Jones, another sprinter fell into a similar trap. The only difference was that Justin Gatlin, the world record holder in the 100 meter dash, was detected with having used testosterone rather than EPO, and was immediately sanctioned.

As a reporter, I never believed that these were isolated cases, and time has shown me right.

Now the bureaucratic process is underway, in which the first stone of what will become an avalanche will be thrown in the form of an official report by the American anti-doping agency (USED). They will much more than likely call for rescinding Jones' records and the loss of her medals.

That Juventud Rebelde commentary of more than a year ago concluded with three paragraphs that remain valid:

Everything is consistent with galloping commercialization, that to a great degree dominates the destiny of world sports.

There can be only vain attempts to wage a battle against doping in big league professional sports in the United States; here, there are millions and millions of dollars that directly block such an action.

It doesn't take too much to reach the conclusion that Tim Montgomery, Kelly White, Justin Gatlin, Floyd Landis or Marion Jones didn't act deliberately. They are part of the corruption of a social system that uses them - and at the same time devours them.

Source: Juventud Rebelde, http://www.juventudrebelde.co.cu/columnists/2007-10-06/with-the-same-stone/

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