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On this date in 2008, Sprinter Marion Jones was sentenced to six months in prison for lying about using steroids and for check fraud. The former Black Olympic champion was ordered to surrender March 11, 2008, to begin her term.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas said he gave her the maximum under her plea deal to send a message to athletes who have abused drugs and overlooked the values of "hard work, dedication, teamwork and sportsmanship." Karas also said "Athletes in society have an elevated status, they entertain, they inspire, and perhaps, most important, they serve as role models."
The sentence occurred despite Jones’ plea to not be separated from her two young children "even for a short period of time." "I ask you to be as merciful as a human being can be," said Jones, who cried on her husband's shoulder after she was sentenced.
The 31-year-old Jones also was given two years' probation and supervised release, during which she will be required to perform 800 hours of community service. Later that day, the judge was to sentence Jones' former coach, Olympic champion Steve Riddick, who was convicted in the check-fraud scam.