Keeping up with Jones
Despite a few detours, the sprinter is still on track
By Joanna Myth
The news from the track and field world championships last month was startling.
After 54 consecutive wins, Marion Jones lost. Twice. Once in a 100-meter
semifinal and again in the final. For the past four years Jones had been a
portrait of consistency, grinding all comers while setting record times.
Recently, however, she has begun to allow a little air into her life and
schedule. Jones started working as a color commentator for WNBA broadcasts on
NBC in July, pulling insight from her stellar career as an All-America point
guard at North Carolina. (Yes, she can dunk.) "It keeps me in the game, and
I get to check in with some of my teammates from college who play in the
league," she says. "But I have a ways to go as an announcer." And
she is newly single, having filed for divorce from shot-putter C.J. Hunter in
June. "It's been a distraction," Jones says. "It will be good to
have it done
Jones vows to remew her winning streak Bill Frakes
Not that anyone now expects the world's most famous female athlete to relax,
exactly. She is formidable enough that when the 330-pound Hunter tested positive
for drugs just before the Sydney Games, he wept at the idea of Jones finding
out. "Don't tell my wife, please," he begged officials. And so
desirous is Jones of doing her best and obliterating all records in the process,
that anything short of perfection carries the sting of loss. Arranging herself
in front of the cameras in Sydney, a quintet of freshly won Olympic medals on
her chest, Jones tucked the bronze medals behind the three gold, leaving only a
thin crescent of the offending color. It was a poignant, if telling
moment -- Jones, after all, had just become the first woman to win five track
and field medals in a single Olympics. But among the many new things in Marion
Jones's life these days seems to be her ability to appreciate her gifts. When
they handed out the medals after the world championships, Jones grabbed the
surprise silver and glittered it for the cameras, beaming. And then, of course,
she told the press she'd be back, kicking butt. "I'm a champion, and I like
For more from our Adrenaline section -- including Tiffeny Milbrett's critique of the WUSA's debut, the latest in energy bars, surfing, and more -- check out Sports Illustrated Women's September issue, on newsstands now.
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