Steve Simmons, a columnist from the Toronto Sun, wrote, “In what should have been the week of her life, the great Marion Jones has been found guilty by association. No matter how fast she runs, no matter how many medals she wins, she cannot outrun the suspicion and accusations. The questions will linger, the way they always do amid the hypocrisy that is track and field. Is she or isn’t she? Odds are, we’ll never know.”
What a way to sum up the current state of affairs for the world’s sprint queen. Except that Simmons wrote that column two years ago from the Sydney Olympics.
Little has changed. In 2000, the suspicion arose from C.J. Hunter, then Jones’ husband, who was banned from the Games for testing positive for the banned substance nandrolone.
In the past two weeks, Jones and boyfriend Tim Montgomery the newly crowned Fastest Man in the World quit working with their longtime coach, Trevor Graham, and have been seen on a Canadian track with the notorious Charlie Francis.
Francis, Ben Johnson’s former coach, was disgraced after Johnson’s steroid use in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, where Johnson was stripped of his gold medal in one of the darkest moments in Olympic history. Francis, along with Johnson, has a lifetime ban from Athletics Canada, our northern neighbor’s governing body.
Said Simmons in that Sept.26,2000 column: “Supposedly, C.J. Hunter missed the Olympic Games with a knee injury. That was the story being peddled by the holier-than-thou ‘our athletes don’t take drugs’ United States Track and Field. The association knew of the positive drug test but said nothing about it because, first and foremost, they’re in the business of not getting sued.
“What those great civil libertarians from the track world will tell you is they are protecting the rights of the athletes.
“And they are, as Charlie Francis, the one-time coach of Ben Johnson, insists, protecting their phony baloney jobs, not to mention their backsides.”
Now it appears Francis will be receiving those same protection services from USATF, not Athletics Canada.
I haven’t been a huge Jones fan for a while, but if sources close to the situation are correct that she and Montgomery are using their new coach Canadian biomechanical expert Derek Hansen as a front man for Francis, both are on the road to disaster. Both athletes deny a relationship with Francis.
In the 1989 government inquiry after Johnson’s DQ from Seoul, Francis testified that Johnson and two other sprinters he coached had been taking drugs since 1981, including anabolic steroids, the male sex hormone testosterone and diuretics, used as masking agents, plus human growth hormone.
Log onto his Web site, charliefrancis.com, and you can order his riveting book “Speed Trap,” in which he tells that he learned that drugs were an essential part of athletic success after watching the East Germans at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
Sources say Montgomery is following Jones’ lead, his senses clouded by love. But what in the world is Jones thinking? Maybe she was better off with C.J.
Musical chairs Usually, the GW Parkway Classic in Alexandria occurs in mid-April, followed by the Sallie Mae 10K in Washington and Pike’s Peak 10K in Rockville, both on the last Sunday of April.
In 2003, it looks like the GW Parkway race will join Pike’s Peak on April 27 while Sallie Mae celebrates her mother’s day on May11. In addition, it appears that the race that recently has served as the Mother’s Day race the Tyson’s 5K organized by Lea Gallardo at Metro Run and Walk will move up a weekend to May 4, the same day as the Governor’s Bay Bridge 10K Run.
Golden Spike The 2003 Indoor Golden Spike Tour schedule was announced last week. The series, in its fifth year, includes the Adidas Boston Indoor Games (Feb.1); the Verizon Millrose Games in New York’s Madison Square Garden (Feb.7); the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. (Feb.15); the USA Indoor Championships in Boston (March1-2); and the USA Indoor Combined Events in Chapel Hill, N.C. (March8-9).