On the Right Track

From Olympic Downfall to Finding Forgiveness and the Strength to Overcome and Succeed

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For more than a decade, Marion Jones was hailed as the “the fastest woman on the planet.” At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, 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. She was on the cover of Vogue and Time. She seemed to have it all—fame, fortune, talent, and international acclaim. Now she is a convicted felon.

The trouble started in 2003 when she lied to federal agents about her use of a performance-enhancing drug and her knowledge of a check fraud scam. In 2007, no longer able to live with the lies, she admitted the truth. In a sad end to what seemed like a storybook career, she was stripped of her medals, and her track-and-field records were wiped from the books.

She was incarcerated at Carswell federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas—a prison known for its violence and abuse. While there, she kept herself in shape and her sanity intact by running on a dirt track and a treadmill in the prison’s improvised weight room. But her imprisonment was not the end for Marion Jones. In fact, it marked a new beginning. 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.

On the Right Track is the candidly told story of how Marion came to grips with her lies and the consequences of her actions, and how she found meaning in all of it. What she tells her children and has now applied to her own life is that when you make a mistake, you admit it, you accept the consequences, you move on, you make the wrong a right. She teaches her children and others to take a break and pause before making impulsive and potentially harmful decisions.

At the heart of this book are real issues that we all face: learning to grow through pain; making decisions that will help us far into the future; overcoming failure and discouragement; and applying practical principles that point the way to personal and spiritual breakthrough.
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  • Howard Books | 
  • 224 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451610833 | 
  • October 2010
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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1
THE WAY BACK


As the cameras clicked and the videotapes rolled, I stepped up to a battalion of microphones stationed in front of the West-chester County Federal Courthouse in White Plains, New York. It was Friday, October 5, 2007, an unseasonably warm day. The treetops swayed with occasional gusts of wind. There was a long ribbon of people across the street, shouting “We love you, Marion.” I didn’t know any of them, but they were like angels sent from God to wrap their wings around me on one of the lowest days of my life.

My mother, other relatives, and close supporters stood behind me and around... see more
CHAPTER 2
A LIFE OF TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY


For those of you who know me, I suppose you can fast-forward through the next few paragraphs, but for those who don’t, I am Marion Jones, and I have lived a life of triumph and tragedy.

I was born in 1975 in Los Angeles, the daughter of George Jones—who was a businessman—and Marion, a hardworking legal secretary who had moved to the United States from Belize in 1968 at age twenty-two. I have one brother, Albert Kelly. Albert is five years older than me. I look up to him. He is my great and lasting hero, and we have always been close. Albert has always believed in... see more

Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION

For more than a decade, Marion 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. But when she lied to federal agents about her use of a performance-enhancing drug, she was stripped of her medals and served six months in prison, away from her husband and young children. On the Right Track is the candidly told story of how she came to grips with her lies and the consequences of her actions and how she found meaning in all of it. She discusses real issues that we all face: learning to grow through pain, making decisions that will help us far into the future, overcoming failure and discouragement, and applying practical principals that point the way to personal and spiritual breakthrough.

QUESTIONS AND TOPICS FOR DISCUSSTION

  1. When faced with Marion’s decision, what would you have done? Lied in an attempt to protect yourself, or come clean?
  2. Marion lacked a strong male presence in her life growing up, and writes “I wonder if I won all those trophies and medals to impress the men in my life.” Talk about Marion’s reliance and often blind faith in the men in her life. How did this hurt her? How is her relationship with Oba different?
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