Marion Jones 'On the Right Track'

October 29, 2010 Blessed with fame, fortune, beauty, and talent, it seemed as if this rising star would shine forever. And in 2000, after winning five medals at the Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia – a feat never before accomplished by a female athlete – she was truly on top of the world. But seven years later, she was penniless and stripped of her gold medals and records. Even worse, she was headed to prison, having admitted that she had lied to federal investigators about both her steroid use and her knowledge of a check fraud scheme.

The former America's darling was now disgraced, taken away from her children and husband, Obadele Thompson, and forced to serve a six-month sentence in Carswell federal prison in Fort Worth Texas – a prison known for its violence and abuse – where she served much of her sentence in solitary confinement. Alone with her thoughts, Jones could not ignore the consequences of her actions, and she realized that an impulsively made poor decision can create a disastrous ripple effect that can last a lifetime. In her new book, ON THE RIGHT TRACK: From Olympic Downfall to Finding Forgiveness and the Strength to Overcome (Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster: October 26, 2010: hardcover, $26.00), Jones candidly shares her experiences in prison, her struggles to find the "real" Marion Jones, her reinvention through the WNBA, and what she's doing now to give back. Her "Take a Break" program encourages teens and adults alike to do what she did not do when faced with a life-altering decision: "Take a break, think, and turn to trusted advisors before making decisions that profoundly impact their lives. Marion is living proof of the danger in ignoring this advice.

In addition, Jones has found herself in the unique position of being able to voice the concerns of a mostly unheard group: that of female prisoners. Marion describes the experiences in Carswell that inspired her to champion prison reform for women, specifically for mothers and those addicted to drugs and alcohol, as well as better education and skills training for female inmates to help with employment upon release. Marion's position as a celebrity with intimate knowledge of the women's prison system has prompted her to speak for those who have no voice in the social reform debate. This year, Marion embarked on a new chapter in her athletic career, joining the WNBA's Tulsa Shock. It's the first time she's played competitive basketball in thirteen years, proving that everyone has the capacity and talent to create second chances in their lives. Marion Jones's story describes the dangers of making bad decisions as well as the power of reflection, faith and self-discovery, and she urges readers to learn from her mistakes.

An ESPN documentary Marion Jones: Press Pause, directed by John Singleton, will air November 2 as part of the 30 for 30 series.

About the Authors:

Marion Jones is a former world champion track and field athlete. She won five medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia but voluntarily returned all her Olympic medals and forfeited all her race results from September 2000 after admitting she lied to federal investigators about her use of a performance-enhancing drug. Beginning in 2010, Marion has played professional basketball for the WNBA team the Tulsa Shock. She and her family live in Austin, Texas.

Maggie Greenwood-Robinson is an accomplished author, co-author, and ghostwriter who has written more than 45 books in the areas of psychology, health, and inspiration. She wrote The Biggest Loser, a New York Times bestseller that was the official diet/fitness book for NBC's hit reality show of the same name.

She resides in Dallas, Texas.


Marion Jones is one of the world's most celebrated athletes. Despite being an extremely talented California high school sprint champion, Jones declined a spot on the US Olympic Relay Team as a high school student. Instead, Jones starred on the basketball court at Thousand Oaks High School and led the team to a California State Basketball Championship in 1992 before being named the California Division I Player of the Year as a senior.

Marion accepted a basketball scholarship and attended the University of North Carolina. In her freshman year, Marion, a talented, quick point guard, led her Tar Heel team to the 1994 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship. As the University of North Carolina starting point guard, Marion led the Tar Heels to a 92-10 record over three seasons. Jones still ranks fifth on UNC's career assists list, third in steals and seventh in blocked shots. Jones was drafted by the WNBA's Champion Phoenix Mercury in the 2003 WNBA Draft (3rd Round, 33rd overall) but never played for the team.

In 1997, Marion graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in Broadcast-Journalism. She immediately returned to the track and, as a member of the USA Track Team, won gold medals in the 100 Meters and 4x100 Meter Relay in the 1997 World Championships. In 1998 she recorded personal bests of 10.65 in the 100 Meters and 21.62 in the 200 Meters. These marks still stand in the record books. After defending her 100 Meter title at the 1999 World Championships, Marion went on to win five medals – three gold and two bronze – at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

In 2007, Marion was stripped of those medals because of her admission to using performance-enhancing drugs. As a result of her confession, Marion was sentenced, and served six months in federal prison for lying to federal investigators. Marion voluntarily returned her five Olympic medals, and publicly apologized to her family, friends and fans all over the world.


Marion just successfully completed her rookie year in the WNBA.

In May 2009, while 8months pregnant with her third child, Marion received a telephone asking if she had an interest in playing professional basketball in the WNBA. Marion immediately jumped at the opportunity to return to her first love…basketball.

In September 2009, after a 13-year absence from the game, Marion began official basketball skills and conditioning training under the guidance of Olaf Lange, Assistant Coach of the WNBA's San Antonio Silver Stars. By November 2009, it was clear that Marion still possessed the skills required to play professional basketball in the WNBA.

As an unrestricted free agent WNBA Rookie, Marion was free to choose which WNBA team best suited her up-tempo, speed-oriented style of play. Five teams were on her list. Ultimately, Marion determined that the Tulsa Shock and Coach Nolan Richardson would be the best fit. On March 6, 2010, after participating in an intense tryout session, Coach Nolan Richardson offered Marion a Player's Contract. On March 10, 2010, at the age of 34, Marion Jones was officially introduced as a member of the 2010 WNBA Tulsa Shock team.

Marion resides in Austin, Texas with her husband Obadele, and their three children, Monty, 7, Amir 3, and 1-year old Eva-Marie.

"On the Right Track" Book Signing
Tonight from 6 to 8 PM
830 N. Michigan Ave.


Music legend and native Chaka Khan joins sports phenom Marion Jones to keynote women's retreat

'Take Back Your Life' coming to Chicago for third installment

(CHICAGO) Incomparable music legend Chaka Khan and the WNBA's Tulsa Shock star Marion Jones will keynote the third installment of "Take Back Your Life, Mind Body & Soul" (TBYL) women's retreat series. The two superstars will join a stellar lineup of women speakers on Saturday, October 30 at the Tinley Park Convention Center in Tinley Park beginning at 8 a.m." "Take Back Your Life", is an event series dedicated to supporting women in the five most important areas of their lives: spirituality, personal balance, health and fitness, career and finance, and relationships.

Jones will be TBYL's featured luncheon speaker and discuss her new book, "On the Right Track" (Howard Books. For more than a decade, Jones was hailed as the "the fastest woman on the planet." At the 2000 Olympic Games she became the first woman ever to win five medals at one Olympics. That same year, the Associated Press and ESPN named her Athlete of the Year and she was on the cover of Vogue and Time. Now a convicted felon she is now using her story to change the lives of people the world over and inspire others who, like her, face obstacles that seem insurmountable. During her session Jones will candidly share her experiences in prison, her struggles to find the "real" Marion Jones and her reinvention through the WNBA. Jones will be interviewed by Matt McGill, of the Matt & Perri Show on WVON and immediately following her session she will autograph copies of "On the Right Track", which debuts during this weekend in Chicago.

Monique Caradine will interview the iconic Chaka Khan during the afternoon session. Following the theme of reinvention and redemption, Khan will reflect on a musical and personal career of exalting highs and devastating lows outlined in her autobiography "Chaka! Through the Fire". The interview will be followed by a musical salute from another Chicago powerhouse vocalist, Terisa Griffin joined by other Chicago female vocalists.

Throughout the day attendees will experience sessions focused on personal and spiritual pampering, plus employment and career guidance. This year's presenters from the fields of business, entrepreneurship and spirituality include Rev. Jacquie Hood Martin, author of Fulfilled" The Art and Joy of Balanced Living"; Amy Hilliard, the founder and CEO of The ComfortCake and author of "Tap Into Your Juice - Find Your Gifts, Lose Your Fears and Build Your Dreams"; and Cheryl Pearson McNeil, senior vice president public affairs and government relations, The Nielsen Company, whose topic is "How Do you Eat an Elephant? One Bite at a Time: The Roadmap to Success". Upwards of 500 women are anticipated to attend the third installment of "Take Back Your Life" women's retreat. The event provides attendees authentic case studies and experience to draw upon, and enables them to move forward in their personal and professional lives.

For tickets, call WVON at 773-247-6200 to order your tickets today. For more information visit

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