10 Surprising Bankrupt Athletes

Marion Jones
Marion Jones speaks to the media outside a U.S. federal courthouse in 2007 in White Plains, N.Y. after pleading guilty to charges in connection with steroid use. Hiroko Masuike/Getty Images

When sprinter Marion Jones was at her prime, she received $70,000 to $80,000 per race, plus $1 million a year in endorsement deals from brands like Nike, which was proud to brandish its trademarked swoosh alongside her trademarked abs [source: Pugmire]. In the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, the fastest woman on Earth accomplished something no female athlete had done before, winning five medals in track and field, including three golds.

Fast, beautiful and rich, Jones appeared to have it all, including a sprinter boyfriend in fellow Olympic medalist Tim Montgomery. But the speed queen's success would soon come to a screeching halt. Both Jones and Montgomery would be stripped of their Olympic medals after each confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs as part of the infamous Balco doping scandal [source: Schmidt and Zinser].

Unable to race, Jones and Montgomery struggled to maintain their lavish lifestyle, which included three luxurious homes in North Carolina [source: Pugmire]. Desperate for cash, Montgomery turned to a drug-dealing acquaintance who hooked them up with a $1.7-million check-cashing scheme [source: Lelinwalla]. The crime would land Montgomery in prison; Jones served her own short sentence for lying to a federal grand jury about her doping past.

When Jones declared bankruptcy in 2007, she claimed to have $2,000 to her name, and the banks foreclosed on her three homes [source: Pugmire].