Marion Jones: 'I really wish I wouldn't have lied'

AUSTIN, Texas — Marion Jones wants you to know she's sorry.

Not so much about the performance-enhancing drugs she took — unknowingly, she says — when she was the most famous and lauded track athlete in the world, a winner of five medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, medals she no longer owns.

What Jones really wants you to know is she's sorry for lying to federal investigators about her drug use. That, and her role in a check-fraud scam, are what landed her in prison for six months in 2008, during which she spent a month and a half in solitary confinement after fighting another inmate.

"I surely wish that I could go back and change certain things in my past, on one hand, but then I wouldn't be who I am today, someone who I'm actually really proud of," Jones said in an interview with The Associated Press, her gaze steady. "If I hadn't gone through certain things, and because I had those six months or whatever — just a lot of quiet time — if I hadn't gone through it, I don't know if I would ever have that much time to reflect. A lot of people don't."

Jones also wants you to know how that self-reflection changed her as a person. Her priorities, her goals, the way she defines success, the way she makes decisions each day — all are rather different now, due in part to what she says is her faith. She emphasized that repeatedly during an hour-long interview with the AP at a park near a school her children attend, and in her new book, "On the Right Track," which comes out today and quotes several biblical passages.

"My story is unique, in that the first part of my life, my journey, I hit the pinnacle of my career, and it was a very public career, and then I made decisions that cost me all of that," Jones said. "And so I was at that low point. But I didn't give up. I kind of developed a way to get out of that, and I'm on my way back up."

Her 213-page book, written with Maggie Greenwood-Robinson, is based in part on letters Jones wrote to her husband while she was in prison.

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