Marion Jones by Allen Kee/WireImage.com
As expected, Oprah did
go all James Frey on Marion Jones on Wednesday, instead asking the disgraced Olympic track star mostly softball questions. Jones, who is set to serve six months for lying to federal investigators about steroid use and her involvement in a money-laundering scheme, sat for her first interview since being sentenced on Jan. 11.
Jones, who has two young children, had hoped for probation given the humiliation she has suffered since admitting her guilt in October. But U.S. District Court judge Kenneth M. Karas refused to let her off the hook, telling her "people live with their choices and the choice not to play by the rules has been compounded by the choice to break the law."
Jones won five medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics (all of which she's given back to the International Olympic Committee), and claims that was the year she began using steroids. Her performances dating back to 1997 and 1998 seem to indicate that might not be the whole truth. It's unfortunate that Oprah didn't ask Jones about that. Instead she wanted to know how Jones was feeling about coming clean, her impending jail time and whether or not she's told her kids that she's going to jail. (She has not.)
A contrite Jones, speaking remotely, told Oprah, "I've returned the medals, the performances have been taken away, but they fail in comparison to seeing my husband cry. They fail in comparison to seeing my mother have to stand there in the courtroom and bawl. You know, those things to me are what mean the most."
There's hope that we may yet get to see Ms. Winfrey take off the gloves. During the interview she mentioned that Jones has agreed to another interview when she is released from prison.