In her first interview since being sentenced to six months in prison for lying to U.S. government prosecutors about her steroid use, former Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss her regrets.
Although many of Jones’ comments surrounded the shame she has placed upon herself and her family, little discussion was raised as to why she would use steroids in the first place.
Why would a naturally gifted athlete decide to use performance-enhancing drugs in competition? It cannot be for the glory. After all, one cannot truly claim a victory if that win is based on cheating. It seems to me in this day and age that the motivation behind drug use in sports is the financial incentives that follow a win.
Jones, who is best known for her three gold medals at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, received millions of dollars during her prime, winning on average $70, 000 and $80, 000 in prize money per race.
Furthermore, Jones, like many other star athletes, ventured into a lucrative endorsement deal with Nike Inc. worth millions of dollars.
This amount of money, I would argue, is a far better explanation than glory, as to why an athlete would choose to go down the performance-enhancing route. After all, no one really remembers who came in second, and cheating athletes are banking on that.