Text in English In defence of Marion Jones

I'm not any big supporter of professional sports. I once enjoyed -or maybe I should say loved- NBA basketball. I even got up in the middle of the night with the only purpose of seing my idol, Ben Johnson, defeat Carl Lewis in Seoul 1988. His later disqualification made me think about doping and professional sports. And through the years, I came to one conclusion: the only competition I'm really interested in is the one we keep against our own limits. Any overweighted friend who manages to run 10 minutes non-stop moves me inside much, much more than any slam dunk by Kobe Bryant.

Now, I understand the athletes emotions and wish them the best, but I personally scorn the olympic games (just a huge business). I can't find professional cycling interesting; it has no sense with doping, but without doping it is somewhat hypocrite and has no sense whatsoever. My appreciation for a competition is inversely proportional to the attention and money the athletes get. I sympathize with female cross-country runners, and mostly ignore stars like male 100 m runners.

In this respect, I've never been any fan of Marion Jones. Her medals (the ones I heard of by chance) made me happy because I suppose they made her happy (one person, at least) and that's all. For me, her achievements have never been greater than those of any supermarket cashier that gets to earn her money after an exhausting day.

I had some news about her doping, and how her medals were cancelled. But now I read that she is trying to avoid... jail.

I can (partly) understand professional competition in team games such as basketball or football because it involves skills, creativity, team playing... things that (at least remotely) relate to becoming a better human being. Other competitions, however, are not so significant for me. There is always creativity or tactics involved, but they depend so heavily in muscle performance (or any other bodily function) that verifying which human body gives a better biochemical/biomechanical response to stress, or speed (100 m running, long-distance cycling, and so on) is just a scientifical question that I can hardly relate to human virtues. Personal effort, training, tenacity or discipline are a must, of course, but it's unlikely that they will make the difference in a biological parameter to win a world-class competition. What are you giving medals to, then?

It seems that Marion Jones broke some rules. And she was punished for that. All of her effort (putting even her own health at risk) became useless when her medals vanished. I think that's a severe penalty for an athlete, whose only purpose in life until a certain age was winning the glory of being remembered as a winner. Each one of her thousands of long, hard training hours was completely in vain.

Does she deserve jail? Just for lying during an investigation to defend herself? Then, what sentence would deserve, say, George W. Bush for lying to send several countries to a never-ending war? What sentence would the TV channels, the sponsors, the cities, all of those guys who made money with Marion and pushed her to her limits and took advantage of her, deserve? And regarding the sports authorities, the enthusiasts, the audience... What were you rewading exactly with medals? Did you give any appreciation to the runner who arrived in sixth place, or to the athlete that lost in the trials and never got to the olympic games? Did you give any credit or tribute to the second-rate athlete that trained endlessly, without any help (or drugs), and won some local championship, and couldn't get any further because of an injury?

Sending Jones to jail is like trying to make amends for our own sins by punishing her. I've never cared too much about Marion Jones and her five medals in a row. But now I do. Now I'm starting to get interested in her story. Now I feel moved. Now I feel the urge to see her win.

Go, Marion, go. Let them behind. Crush them. I'm with you.

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