Recognize the name Victor Conte? Â Remember BALCO? Â Well, Victor Conte was the guy who was at the heart of BALCO . Â Now, he’s back and he is in the unregulated supplement business.
For all of us educated observers, this is pretty hard to imagine.
SAN CARLOS, Calif. -Â
Ex-con. Evil chemist. BALCO drug peddler. Whatever you want to call him, Victor Conte is back and has reinvented himself once again.
“This is really a blessing for me,” said Victor Conte.
That’s because the man who once boosted and then brought down some of the biggest names in sports, has stepped back into the ring helping elite athletes. Conte is even teaming up with another BALCO convicted co-conspirator, track coach Remi Korchemny.
The Russian-born coach was allowed to plead guilty only to a single misdemeanor, distributing a prescription drug he got from Conte.
KTVU reporter Rita Williams asked Victor Conte if Remi was a scapegoat during the BALCO investigation. Remi has said he was not involved.
“That’s correct,” said Conte. Remi said he plead guilty in order to save money.
Now they’re together again. Both are taking and promoting Conte’s new nutritional supplements called SNAC.
“I know that everything that come from SNAC is the best quality,” said Korchemny.
But when it comes to the largely unregulated supplements business, not everyone’s a fan. The head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Travis Tygart told it’s easy to sell a dirty supplement.
“Convicted felons can do it. Who knows what’s in this stuff? For the life of me, I can’t imagine why anyone would associate with someone like this who’s made so many mistakes in the past,” said Tygart.
Professional boxer Nonito Donaire is currently one of Conte’s clients. He welcomes any drug testing. He recently retained his world bantamweight title.
“Just because I’m working with Victor, I’m definitely out there for criticism,” said Donaire. “But I’m here. I got a vein, you got a needle. Let’s test!”
Ultimate Fighter light heavyweight contender Kyle Kingsbury is also an athlete training with Conte. Kingsbury is facing his biggest bout this week at the San Jose Arena.
Both Nonito and Kingsbury have said since they began working with Conte, the two Bay Area natives are tested a lot.
“Even though there’s a stigma attached to it, it’s worth it to me because of the benefits. I’m clean as a whistle. Test, test away,” said Kingsbury.
In addition to SNAC supplements, Conte monitors his athletes use of a high-tech breathing machine for what he calls hypoxic training. It simulates high altitude and triggers the production of red blood cells.
As for Conte, the former Tower of Power bass player says he did the crime, served his time and would never do anything illegal again.
“It’s kind of come full circle and I’m grateful to a lot of people for giving me a second opportunity,” said Conte.
An opportunity to be a wanted man again, this time not by the authorities but by athletes.