30 for 30 (2009– )
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Marion Jones: Press Pause 

Few athletes in Olympic history have reached such heights and depths as Marion Jones. After starring at the University of North Carolina and winning gold at the 1997 and '99 World Track and... See full summary »


John Singleton

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Episode credited cast:
Kevin Blackistone Kevin Blackistone ... Himself
Marion Jones ... Herself
Edwin Moses ... Himself
Kelly Naqi Kelly Naqi ... Herself
Rich Nichols Rich Nichols ... Himself
Ron Rapoport Ron Rapoport ... Himself
William C. Rhoden William C. Rhoden ... Himself
Nolan Richardson Nolan Richardson ... Himself
John Singleton ... Himself


Few athletes in Olympic history have reached such heights and depths as Marion Jones. After starring at the University of North Carolina and winning gold at the 1997 and '99 World Track and Field Championships, her rise to the top culminated at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia. There, she captivated the world with her beauty, style and athletic dominance as she sprinted and jumped to three gold medals and two bronze. Eventually, though, her accomplishments and her reputation would be tarnished. For years, Jones denied the increasing speculation that she used performance-enhancing drugs. But in October 2007, she finally admitted what so many had long suspected -- that she had indeed used steroids. Jones was sentenced to six months in prison for lying to federal investigators and soon saw her Olympic achievements disqualified. Now a free woman, Jones is running in a new direction in life and taking time to reflect. Written by ESPN Films

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Release Date:

2 November 2010 (USA) See more »

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References Beijing 2008: Games of the XXIX Olympiad (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Marion Jones wasn't served well by this documentary.
31 December 2014 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

In the Athens Olympics, Marion Jones won five medals and became a HUGE celebrity as a result. However, some time later, it was revealed that she's been using performance-enhancing drugs AND she's lied while under oath about her drug use. As a result, her medals were stripped and she served six months in jail.

"Marion Jones: Press Pause" begins with Marion Jones addressing the world at a press conference. At this conference, she admitted openly and took full responsibility for her use of these performance- enhancing drugs. This was a wonderful thing. While I hate the notion of anyone using such drugs, I love folks openly admitting it and not making excuses--which, unfortunately, is something I saw a lot of in another "30 for 30" film, "9.79". In "9.79", many athletes who were caught made TONS of excuses (especially the old 'everybody's doing it' excuse)--and fortunately Jones does not do this.

HOWEVER, the film was not well made because although she was pretty open about her use of these drugs and how she lied and cheated, some of the folks in the documentary DID go there--making many excuses for using drugs to win the Olympics. One blamed Jones' coaches--who might deserve SOME of the blame but she made the choice to use them and lie about this when she was under oath. The worst of these folks threw out the race card--saying she was being persecuted because she was black. Well, in the Olympics, EVERYONE is tested...everyone...black, white, green, whatever. Even if you argued that many other professional athletes (black and white baseball players are a good example) got away with lying under oath and Jones didn't, this still doesn't excuse anyone from lying or taking the drugs in the first place. Cheating is wrong--especially when you consider that these folks doing great means that other deserving folks DIDN'T get the multi- million dollar endorsement deals and public adulation. So, while Jones went to jail, boiling it all down to race (as ONE person did in the film) really is not appropriate and distracted the viewers from Jones' story. Plus, it minimizes and cheats folks who really have been hurt due to race.

If she'd just given her story and the camera had shown her in her attempt to redeem herself and establish a post-prison life, it would have been very compelling. I liked this portion of the film--the rest I could have done without.

By the way, I did some additional reading about Marion Jones and her sentencing. It seems that her lying under oath about the use of the drugs was a PART of the reason she was sent to jail--the rest apparently was due to her also lying about some check cashing scheme. This wasn't mentioned in the "30 for 30" film.

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