The Washington Post newspaper is reporting that American Marion Jones has admitted using steroids before the 2000 Sydney Olympics, during which she won five medals in track and field.
The Post is reporting that she revealed in a recent letter to close family members that she took a banned substance called "the clear" for two years, beginning in 1999. She said she got it from coach Trevor Graham who told her it was flaxseed oil, a nutritional supplement.
"The clear" is a performance-enhancing drug linked to BALCO, the San Francisco laboratory at the center of a federal steroids investigation. Until now, Marion Jones had repeatedly denied she had ever taken any kind of performance-enhancing substance.
According to the Post, Jones also said she will plead guilty Friday in New York to two counts of lying to federal agents about her drug use and an unrelated financial matter.
The admission by Jones could cost her the three gold and two bronze medals she won at the Sydney Olympics. She was once considered the best female athlete in the world.
Last November, her coach Trevor Graham was indicted on three counts of lying to federal agents connected to the BALCO investigation. He has pleaded not guilty, and his trial is scheduled for next month.
In the letter to her family, Jones said she faced up to six months in jail and would be sentenced to three months. She said she wanted to apologize and said she lied because she panicked to protect herself and her coach.