"I've been given this opportunity to make a change and prove to myself that I can come out of this hole that I've dug myself into," Bobek told "Today" host Matt Lauer on Tuesday from Lake Worth. A New Jersey judge on Monday ordered Bobek to spend five years on probation. The 32-year-old Jupiter resident pleaded guilty in June to a charge of conspiring to distribute crystal meth. She was among 28 people accused last year of running a network that allegedly distributed $10,000 worth of methamphetamine per week.
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Bobek told Lauer she made bad choices while going through a rough period after the deaths of people close to her. Now it's time to get back on the ice, and to reach out to others who are dealing with similar setbacks, she said.
"I've been given this chance to make a difference and hopefully help others who suffer from addiction problems," she said.
Bobek won the U.S. figure skating title in 1995. But her disappointing 17th-place finish at the 1998 Winter Olympics took a psychological toll on her, according to her lawyer, Sam DeLuca. Bobek had been skating since age 3, forgoing high school and even home schooling for the rigorous, cloistered world of professional training, DeLuca said.
On the "Today" show, Bobek thanked the people who wrote letters on her behalf, and thanked her mother.
"I want to thank God, and also my mother, who is my best friend, and who has been by my side through this whole ordeal," Bobek said.
Accompanied by her mother, Bobek applied to serve her probation near the family's Jupiter home. She was also ordered to perform 250 hours of community service and pay a $2,500 fine, plus additional court expenses.
Staff writer Alexia Campbell contributed to this report.