SAN FRANCISCO – Olympic champion Marion Jones (search) called Wednesday for a public hearing in her campaign to forestall a possible drug case that could keep her from the Athens Games.
"I am not going to engage in the United States Anti-Doping Agency's (search) secret kangaroo court. I will answer questions in a public forum that will be open for the entire world to see, hear and evaluate," Jones declared at a news conference in San Francisco.
"I will answer all the questions USADA is asking of me for the third time. However, this time I will not answer them in secret and behind closed doors. I will answer them in public in the light of day so the world can hear the questions, hear my responses, see the information and see for themselves that I am telling the truth," she said.
"We can answer these questions before the United States Senate, which has shown an interest in this matter, or some other public forum modeled after a judicial proceeding," she said.
Then she repeated a statement she has made repeatedly in response to questions raised about her success as a runner — "I have never, ever used performance enhancing drugs," she said. "I have accomplished what I have accomplished because of my God-given abilities and hard work."
The USADA is investigating Jones for possible doping violations. Jones met with USADA officials last month to discuss possible drug evidence against her, and received a letter from the agency last week asking follow-up questions.
She has requested that prosecutors release her grand jury testimony in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (search) steroid distribution case so she can pass it on to the USADA, and also has asked the USADA for help in getting the secret testimony released.
Jones won an unprecedented five track medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and has hinted she may try to match that mark at the Athens Games. She repeatedly has denied using performance-enhancing drugs and has vowed to fight any USADA charges.
She was one of several dozen athletes who gave secret testimony last fall before a grand jury that ultimately indicted four men for allegedly distributing steroids to top athletes.
The USADA probe of Jones and other athletes is based on documents from the grand jury investigation that were subpoenaed by a Senate committee and then turned over to the USADA.
At least four other athletes — including Jones' boyfriend, 100-meter world record holder Tim Montgomery — have been notified by the USADA that the anti-doping agency is pursuing possible drug cases against them that could result in bans from the Athens Games.