Los Angeles, California
Claim to Fame
Marion Lois Jones (born October 12, 1975), also known as Marion Jones-Thompson, is an American former world champion track and field athlete, a former professional basketball player for Tulsa Shock in the WNBA. She won 3 gold medals and 2 bronze medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, but was later stripped of the titles after admitting to steroid use.
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Thousand Oaks High School, Thousand Oaks, California
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Full Name at Birth
Marion Lois Jones
Albert Kelly (half-brother)
Ira Toler (step father)
Profile Bio Text
Marion Lois Jones (born October 12, 1975), also known as Marion Jones-Thompson, is a former world champion track and field athlete, a former professional basketball player for Tulsa Shock in the WNBA. She won 3 gold medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, but was later stripped of the titles after admitting doping.
At the time of her admission and subsequent guilty plea, Marion Jones was one of the most famous athletes to be linked to the BALCO scandal. The case against BALCO covered more than 20 top level athletes including Jones' ex-husband shot putter C.J. Hunter and 100m sprinter Tim Montgomery, the father of Jones' first child.
Jones was born to African-American George Jones and his Belizean wife, Marion, in Los Angeles, California. She holds dual citizenship with the United States and Belize (her mother's home country). Her parents split when she was very young, and Jones' mother remarried a retired postal worker, Ira Toler, three years later. Toler became a stay-at-home dad to Jones and her older half-brother, Albert Kelly, until his sudden death in 1987. Jones turned to sports (running, pickup basketball games, and anything else her brother Albert was doing athletically) as an outlet for her grief, and by the age of 15 she was routinely dominating California high school athletics both on the tracks and the basketball courts.
Jones is a 1997 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While there, she met and began dating one of the track coaches, shot putter C.J. Hunter. Hunter voluntarily resigned his position at UNC to comply with the requirements of university rules prohibiting coach/athlete dating. Jones and Hunter were married October 3, 1998, and trained for the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics.
In the run-up to the 2000 Olympics, all eyes were on Marion Jones, who had announced at a press conference during her pre-Olympic book-signing tour that she intended to win gold medals in all five of her competition events at Sydney. Lost in the hoopla and the publicity was a low-key announcement that Jones' husband C.J. Hunter had quietly withdrawn from the Shot Put competition due to a knee injury, though he was allowed to keep his coaching credentials and attend the games to support his wife. However, just hours after Marion Jones won her first of the planned five golds, the IOC announced that Hunter had failed no fewer than four pre-Olympic drug tests, testing positive each time for the banned anabolic steroid nandrolone. Hunter was immediately suspended from taking any role at the Sydney games, and he was ordered to surrender his on-field coaching credentials. At a press conference where Hunter broke down in tears as a subdued Marion Jones sat by his side, Hunter denied taking any performance enhancing drugs at all, much less the easily detected nandrolone (which showed up in all four tests in amounts over 1000 times normal levels); Victor Conte of BALCO, who was regularly supplying "nutritional supplements" to Graham's athletes, blamed the test results on "an iron supplement" that contained nandrolone precursors and tied previous positive nandrolone tests from Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey and British sprinter Linford Christie to the same supplement. As late as 2004, Hunter was still denying the charges and was attempting to gain access to the results to see if they could be analyzed further. Jones would later write in her autobiography, Marion Jones: Life in the Fast Lane, that Hunter's positive drug tests hurt their marriage and her image as a drug-free athlete. The couple divorced in 2002.
On June 28, 2003, Jones gave birth to a son (Tim Montgomery Jr.) with then-boyfriend Tim Montgomery, a world class sprinter himself. Because of her pregnancy, Jones missed the 2003 World Championships but spent a year preparing for the 2004 Olympics. Montgomery, who did not qualify for the 2004 Olympic Track and Field team due to poor performance, was charged by USADA, as part of the investigation into the BALCO doping scandal, with receiving and using banned performance enhancing drugs and sought a four-year suspension for Montgomery. Montgomery fought the ban but lost the appeal on December 13, 2005, receiving a two-year ban from track and field competition; the Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS) also stripped Montgomery of all race results, records, medals, etc., from March 31, 2001 onward. Montgomery later announced his retirement. The investigation into Montgomery's illegal substance use once more called into question Marion Jones's own protests about not using steroids and never having been tested positive for steroids, especially in light of former trainer Trevor Graham's increasingly visible role in the BALCO case.
On February 24, 2007, Marion Jones married Barbadian sprinter and 2000 Olympic medalist (bronze, 100 m sprint) Obadele Thompson. Their first child together was born in July 2007. She gave birth to daughter Eva-Marie on June 28, 2009.
Basketball Player, Track And Field Athlete
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