Jones regrets Francis (nice statement, but watch the picture!!! ;-) )

Jones regrets Francis (

Triple Olympic champion Marion Jones said on Wednesday that she had regrets about the way she handled her relationship with disgraced Canadian coach Charlie Francis last year. Jones and her partner Tim Montgomery, the world 100 metres record holder, were coached briefly by Francis at the start of last year.

Francis was banned for life by Athletics Canada after his protege Ben Johnson tested positive for steroids after winning the 1988 Seoul 100 metres Olympic final in world record time.

“I think that I learnt a lot from Charlie Francis,” Jones told reporters. “The only regret is the way it was all handled.”

Jones was forced to field a barrage of questions at an earlier news conference called to promote Friday’s Birmingham international indoor meeting.

She will run in the 60 metres and take part in an indoor long jump competition for the first time in her career.

Wednesday’s news conference was Jones’ first appearance in Europe since she appeared before a federal grand jury last November. Jones gave evidence to the San Francisco grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative BALCO.

The laboratory and its founder Victor Conte had been linked by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to the development and distribution of the previously undetectable steroid tetrahydrogestrinone (THG).

Conte and three others have since been indicted. Jones’ former husband C.J. Hunter tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone four times before the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The former world shot put champion subsequently retired.

Jones reiterated her opposition to drugs on Wednesday. “I know I am 100 percent clean” she said.

Friday’s competition will be the 28-year-old American’s second and final indoor competition of the year after she took 2003 off to have a baby.

She said she planned to run the 100 and 200 metres at the U.S. trials this year as well as competing in the long jump but added she did not yet know if she would again attempt to win five gold medals at the Athens Olympics.

Caption competition.

“Here was a man who aspired to be number one in the world in not just one thing.” (or similar)