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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 January 2008, 09:53 GMT
Jones punishment is fair - Lewis
Marion Jones
Jones was in tears outside the court
Former Olympic champion Denise Lewis said Marion Jones's six-month jail term is fair and sends the right message to athletes who would consider cheating.

Jones, 32, was sentenced for lying about steroid use and involvement in a drugs fraud case.

"It sends out a strong message to certain athletes that choose to cheat, that it no longer is about just cheating the sport," Lewis told 5 Live.

"If you take it into the realm of lying when questioned, you'll get punished."

Lewis won gold in the heptathlon at the 2000 Olympics, the same event where Jones won an unprecedented five medals.

The American was later stripped of them after she admitted to a New York court that she had taken steroids.

606: DEBATE
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt

The man behind the drugs scandal which led to Jones's jail sentence, Victor Conte, agreed that the disgraced star's plight would act as a deterrent.

Conte was the head of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (Balco), a San Francisco-based laboratory at the centre of a steroids scandal in professional sports, which was linked to the substance which Jones used known as "the clear".

Marion Jones
Jones will leave two children behind when she goes to prison

Having served four months in prison for his part in the Balco operation, Conte told BBC Sport: "I feel very sad for Marion and her family. Marion did make some very poor choices and she does deserve serious consequences.

"There is no doubt in my mind that she has learned gigantic lessons.

"Hopefully, she will be able to serve as an example to others and help them to make good decisions."

"I certainly don't condone her repeated lies, but I do feel especially bad for Marion's mother and her two children.

"Marion was one of the most celebrated athletes in Olympic history and her mistakes have caused her to be stripped of everything she worked so very hard to achieve."

The IAAF, athletics's world governing body, said it hoped Jones - once she has served her time in prison - would work to persuade young athletes against repeating her mistakes.

"There's a lot of sadness for Marion and her family. Six months is a lot," said IAAF spokesman Nick Davies.

She has lived a horrible life for the last few years knowing that her cheating was going to catch up with her

US Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart

"But you do hope that it will be a deterrent to others. Hopefully when she's out of prison she can help the IAAF and other organisations to ensure that other people don't follow the path that she certainly followed.

"It (her doping) has certainly hurt the image of the sport."

US Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart agreed that Jones's fall from grace was deserved, given her previous strenuous denials of any wrongdoing.

"It's certainly a sad day for the sport," he said.

"When athletes like Marion Jones accomplish what she accomplished and then make such vigorous denials and attacks on those who were simply trying to do their jobs, it's hard to appreciate the negative impact that has on our current athletes.

"Doping eventually catches up with you and she has lived a horrible life for the last few years knowing that her cheating was going to catch up with her."

SEE ALSO
Marion Jones's fall from grace
11 Jan 08 |  Athletics
Six-month jail sentence for Jones
11 Jan 08 |  Americas
Conte explains doping loopholes
13 Dec 07 |  Sport Homepage
How to beat the drugs cheats
15 Nov 07 |  Sport Homepage
Jones stripped of Olympic medals
12 Dec 07 |  Athletics
Jones's results annulled by IAAF
23 Nov 07 |  Athletics
Jones pleads guilty in drug case
06 Oct 07 |  Americas
IAAF chief blasts 'fraud' Jones
06 Oct 07 |  Athletics


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