Unlike other African American women in sports, there is no shortage of material on Marion Jones. Newspaper and academic articles, books (both for children and adults), blogs, documentaries, and her many appearances on daytime and nighttime television all chronicle Marion Jones’ life and athletic prowess to one degree or another. They span her childhood, including her abandonment by her biological father at the tender age of four, through her adolescent tomboy tendencies that would become, according to her, the training ground for her development into a world-class athlete. They vaunt her all-American track and field and basketball honors and her ascent as an Olympic record breaker, while decrying her fall in October 2007. Jones herself has even contributed to this cadre of literature with two books, the second of which was released in 2010 following one of the most tumultuous times in her relatively young life. Where once her narrative of überathleticism with its distinctly Horatio Alger-like overtones was one to be celebrated, the vast majority of materials on Jones’ life since her very public fall from grace in 2007 read as the tragic tale of one foolishly caught up in the excesses of fame and celebrity. It is her foibles that stand to be her legacy, even if by every measure her very real human drama is made all the more significant given the socio-political underpinnings it so obviously brings to bear. In truth, what the rise and fall, and perhaps even the beginning rumblings of the rehabilitation of Marion Jones, point to are how the vagaries of race and sex in her life, and in the American experience, serve as especially important pieces in the narrative of Marion Jones.
|Keywords:||Marion Jones, African American Women in Sports, Gender in Sports, Race in Sports, Title IX|
Assistant Professor, African American and Diaspora Studies , Human and Organizational Development, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA