“Your honor, I absolutely realize the gravity of these offenses and I am deeply sorry,” Jones told the judge, crying as she begged not to be separated from her two young sons. One of her son is still breast feeding. She ask the judge not to separate her from them.
“I pray that you be as merciful as a human being can be.”
The Judge gave Jones six months for lying about steroid use and two months — to run concurrently — for misleading federal investigators about a check fraud case involving her ex-boyfriend, former 100-metres world record holder Tim Montgomery.
After hearing her punishment, Jones sobbed into the shoulder of her husband, Olympic sprinter Obadele Thompson.
She has until March to turn herself over to authorities.
“I truly hope that people will learn from my mistakes,” she said later in a brief statement to reporters.
Jones, 32, has been stripped of the five athletics medals she won in the Sydney Olympics, three of them gold. All her performances as of September 2000 have been erased from the record books.
She confessed to lying to investigators in 2003 when she denied knowing that she swallowed the banned substance tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), known as “the clear,” before the 2000 Olympics.
The Judge noted the elevated status of athletes in society and said using drugs sent the wrong message. He said he did not believe Jones’ statement in October when she said she did not realize she was taking steroids until after the 2000 Games.Jones, whose image from a triumphant Sydney Games was enhanced by a winning smile and joyous celebrations, now has become the biggest name in world sport to admit using steroids.
“Today’s sentencing concludes a sad series of events,” USA Track & Field Federation said in a statement. “It is a vivid morality play that graphically illustrates the wages of cheating in any facet of life, on or off the track.”
Prosecutors had agreed to a light sentence because Jones was prepared to cooperate in a separate investigation of her former coach and onetime Olympic relay gold medalist, Steve Riddick. He is also due to be sentenced on Friday bank fraud.
Defense lawyers asked for mercy saying Jones had suffered public humiliation.
Jones once pulled in millions of dollars in product endorsements but is now in financial ruin. Can you find it in your hearts to pray for Marion Jones and her boys? Do you have a problem praying for someone you don know?