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TCA Press Tour: Marion Jones on a journey

July 29, 2009 |  3:51 pm

It would be tough to find a world-class athlete who's suffered a steeper fall from grace than Marion Jones.
And on Wednesday, the former track star -- who was stripped of her Olympic medals and spent six months in jail after admitting she lied about taking performance-enhancing drugs -- did some explaining. At least, explaining why she agreed to appear in a new ESPN documentary about her travails.

"I was a bit hesitant to want to have to open the door again to so much drama and pain," Jones told reporters at the TV press tour in Pasadena.

But after talking with director John Singleton about his plans for the project, she concluded that it "was an opportunity for me to have my say and for people to understand ... certain choices and decisions that I made."

"Marion Jones: Press Pause" is part of "30 for 30," an upcoming series of one-hour documentaries from noted filmmakers to celebrate the sports network's 30th anniversary. The rap star Ice Cube, for instance, delivers "Straight Outta L.A.," a look at the cultural impact of the Raiders' NFL franchise. And Steve James ("Hoop Dreams") made a film about a racial brawl that involved a young Allen Iverson.

Despite Jones' cooperation, Singleton promised the film would not be "candy-coated." But he admitted that he has his own strong views of Jones' case.

"This is a subject that really got under my skin," Singleton said. "I remember being emotionally shaken by what she was going through." In particular, he said, he was angered that Jones was paying a steep price not paid by other athletes who'd lied about doping.

"This story is still happening and evolving," he said. "Marion is still on a certain journey."

-- Scott Collins