Marion Jones was one of the greatest woman athletes of all time. Growing up, she played basketball, gymnastics, soccer, and her specialty, track and field. She was the perfect athlete. However, in her quest to be the best, she used performance enhancing drugs. Worst off, when faced with suspicions and questions from the general media and federal agents, she lied about it. Because of this, a shining star in the world of sports was dragged through the mud, criticized by everyone in the sports world, and was sent to prison. This tragic fall from stardom is the inspiration for Marion Jones: Press Pause.
The film opens up with picture of Jones’s youth, in various athletic outfits. The young girl with the million dollar smile had the whole world in front of her. Then, in the next shot, you see a grown up Jones, crying in front of cameras, admitting her mistakes and faults. You can’t help but feel for Jones. Yes, she did cheat. But so often with athletes, you get an insincere apology. With Jones, it was real, and you knew it.
Jones plead guilty on two counts of making false statements to federal agents. She let alot of people down, but she was very open about it. Jones used her hardships as lessons for young fans, and that is admirable, even if her actions before that were anything but.
John Singleton is the director of Marion Jones: Press Pause, but he also serves as the narrator. Singleton reminds us of the greatness we once saw in Jones, who was nothing short of a global superstar. Five medals in Sydney Olympics: three golds and two bronzes. Then, we are reminded of the lawsuit surround Balco, a labratory that created steroids for athlete, three in particular: Brry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Marion Jones.
The insight of the Jones’s meeting with federal agents was fascinating. Her lawyers told her she can’t lie. Federal Agents applied pressure to Jones, shaking viles in her face. Jones lied, saying she didn’t recognize any of this, because she wasn’t going to risk everything she worked for, her family, life style, reputation. In the interview, her lawyer said she should have taken a break. A pause. The reason for the title of the movie.
The film also bring light to her time in jail. She served 45 days of her six month sentence in solitary confindment, a hellish sentence where you are only given one hour out of your small cell. Jones talked about the jail as she was being interview there. It was a very haunting, and real look into her tough life.
After prison, Jones was faced with the incredibly tough task of building her reputation back up. The world was upset with her, not for using the drugs, but for lying about it. Jones was one of the most outspoken athletes in regards to these drugs, and when it was found out that she was lying, she was vilified.
However, Jones was able to build back much of her reputation, as she turned into a motivational speaker. There’s a great bit where she’s openly honest with a group of kids about her mistakes. As she greatly puts it, “Sports is my passion. Life is my redemption.”
The film ends with her journey back into the athletic world, as she returned to basketball, her second sport, by jumping into the WNBA. She played for the Tulsa Shock, and her transformation was complete.
Marion Jones represented everything we love and hate in sports at the same time. We fell in love with her at the Sydney games, threw her out like yesterday’s news when she was caught, and now admire her for her resilience and determination. Jones has a great story. She hasn’t hidden form her mistakes: she’s embraced them. They have shaped her into the person she is today, and the film does a great job of showing that. We give Marion Jones: Press Pause, a 4.5 out of 5, for doing a fantastic job of showing a side of Marion Jones that few had seen before.