The Fall Of America's Olympic Heroine

Sprinter Marion Jones appears during a news conference during the opening day of the USA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, June 21, 2001. Jones admitted steroids before the 2000 Olympics in a recent letter to close family and friends, The Washington Post reported Thursday., Oct. 4, 2007. AP Photo/Don Ryan, file

This column was written by The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.



Let's go back to the summer of 2000. The Olympics were set for Sydney, Australia, and the biggest American star was Marion Jones, a telegenic sprinter who said her goal for the games was to win five gold medals.

Five gold medals.

She came up a bit short but what did it matter that two were bronze? Her quest would dominate the coverage. Her smile would light up the stadium. Every time we turned on the TV, it seemed there was Marion Jones.

Was it Fitzgerald who said "show me a hero and I'll show you a tragedy"?

Jones insisted for years she never cheated though her husband at the time of the Olympics, shot putter C.J. Hunter, was caught using steroids. Three year ago Balco founder Victor Conte said in an interview that he had given her illegal performance enhancing drugs before, during, and after the Olympics.

Why did she cheat? Money? Fame? Well she's infamous now and broke, apparently.

I wonder if she wonders how good she might have been without the stuff.


Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
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