Conte: 60% of the athletes competing in track and field are on drugs

By Kevin BaxterAugust 9, 2012, 6:41 a.m.

LONDON — USA Boxing is already facing a firestorm of criticism after its men’s team failed to win a medal for the first time in Olympic history. So it’s unlikely Executive Director Anthony Bartkowski was happy to wake up Thursday morning to a photo of bronze-medal-winning women’s fighter Marlen Esparza posing with drug cheat Victor Conte in The Times of London.

Conte, head of the shamed Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (BALCO), spent four months in jail in 2006 after pleading guilty to orchestrating an illegal steroids distribution scheme. The federal investigation implicated dozens of top athletes including home run king Barry Bonds and Olympic champion Marion Jones.

Victor Conte

In London, Conte told The Times that he has gone straight and runs a company called Scientific Nutrition of Advanced Conditioning. He said Esparza and her coaches were skeptical of working with him at first, given his history. But under his direction the fighter, who has been working with Conte since January, used a hypoxicator to increase oxygen metabolism in the run-up to the Games.

He also said he has worked with U.S. sprinter Ryan Bailey, who finished fifth in the 100 meters.

But while Conte insists he’s clean, he can’t stop talking about the dark side. In London, he insists, 60% of the athletes competing in track and field are on drugs.

“It’s basically propaganda to come out and say this is the most extensively tested Games ever,” Conte told the newspaper, alluding to new ways athletes have found to avoid positive tests.

“If you test positive at the Olympics, that is more of an IQ test,” he added.

Conte says after once helping devise drugs that would be difficult to detect he is now working with Dick Pound, former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, on a project to identify an unnamed but illegal substance widely used by athletes seeking chemical assistance.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/olympics/olympicsnow/la-sp-on-victor-conte-boxing-20120809,0,3963086.story

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