New York, Jan 12: Former sprinting sensation Marion Jones was sentenced Friday to six months in prison for lying about taking steroids in a scandal that cost the sprinter her five Olympic medals.
US District Court ignored an emotional plea from the former track star and her lawyers for Jones to be given a probationary sentence, handing down the maximum term requested by prosecutors.The Judge observed that the offences charged on Jones was so serios to grant her an apology. " Athlete who is supposed to be a role model for the children around the world had send wrong signals by committing serious mistakes, said the Judge.
Jones's humiliating fall from grace began when she admitted in October to lying to federal agents about being a dope cheat and her role in a check fraud scheme, at the time offering a tearful apology and pleading for forgiveness.
In passing sentence, Judge said Jones had not made "a momentary lapse in judgment, a one-time mistake, but instead a repetition in an attempt to break the law," adding "nobody is above the legal obligation to tell the truth."
After the Judge pronounced the sentence, a visibly distressed Jones embraced her husband, sprinter Obedele Thompson.
She later spoke briefly outside the courthouse, saying: "I respect the judge's orders and I truly hope that people will learn from my mistakes."
Jones, 32, admitted in a statement to the court before sentencing that she was "scared and nervous about today's outcome," breaking down in tears as she pleaded with the judge to spare her jail time for the sake of her two sons.
"Yes, I made mistakes by lying," she said. "I have admitted these mistakes much later than I should have done but hopefully not too late to elicit from you the milk of human kindness."
"We all make mistakes," she added. "But I really believe that a person's true character is determined by their admission of those mistakes," she said.
Jones was also sentenced to two years' supervised release and 400 hours of community service and must surrender by March 11 to begin a sentence that Karas said was meant to deter other athletes from following down Jones' path.