October 20, 2011
Are over half of all top athletes cheating on steroids?
Seven years after BALCO's demise, Victor Conte believes that over half of top athletes are still doping. "I believe that before the BALCO affair, 80% of athletes were using steroids, today that figure stands at about 65%," Conte said in a hard-hitting interview withÂ La Gazetta dello SportÂ Thursday. Could his estimate be accurate? Don
ROME - Former doping guru Victor Conte has pointed the finger of suspicion at world and Olympic champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica in an interview in which he also claims that all eight 100 metre finalists at the Sydney Olympics were cheats.Conte, the former mentor to disgraced track star Marion Jones, was the brains behind the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) which produced and supplied once-undetectable designer steroids to many top sports stars.A police raid on BALCO in 2004, and the fall-out from the affair, rocked athletics and baseball to its foundations and has ended the career of many promising athletes.Three-time Olympic champion Jones never tested positive, but her career fell apart after she was jailed for perjury amid a federal investigation into BALCO which uncovered the full scope of Conte's operation.Seven years after BALCO's demise, Conte believes that over half of top athletes are still doping."I believe that before the BALCO affair, 80% of athletes were using steroids, today that figure stands at about 65%," Conte said in a hard-hitting interview withÂ La Gazetta dello SportÂ Thursday.Conte said he believed the success of Jamaica's athletes could also be attributed to dubious methods."At the 2001 world championships athletes from a Caribbean country, not Jamaica, told me how a doctor from their team supplied them with testosterone, EPO (erythropoietin) and other kinds of steroids."I know, because I went to him and he gave me EPO."The same informer tells me now that before Beijing (Olympic Games in 2008) that the Jamaicans were applying the same protocol that I created at BALCO."I don't have proof, but all you need to do is look at the results: I strongly suspect (Usain) Bolt, and the others (Jamaicans)."Conte claims all eight finalists from the Sydney Olympics 100m final in 2000, won by American Maurice Greene ahead of Trinidad's Ato Boldon and Obadele Thompson of Barbados, were also using banned products.The other athletes were Britain's Darren Campbell and Dwain Chambers, Ghana's Aziz Zakari, American Jon Drummond and Kim Collins from Saint Kitts and Nevis, who went on to be crowned world champion in 2003."In the Sydney 100m final they were all at it (doping)," alleges Conte.Chambers would later gain notoriety for becoming the first athlete to test positive for one of Conte's designer drugs, THG (tetrahydrogestrinone), a banned steroid.Conte said he also played a role in deciding the outcome of the women's 100m final at the 2003 world championships, won by American Kelly White before she tested positive."Five other athletes (apart from White) were doped: it was me who supplied the drugs," added Conte.Conte, who spent four months in prison for his role in the affair, said he has offered to provide expert insights to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), only to be turned down."I've made myself available, put forward names, addresses, websites, protocols… but you know what they told me? That we can't trust someone who's been sentenced," he added.Conte, who has claimed that current anti-doping procedures are inept, said he could give one example of where the drug testers are going wrong.He explained having pointed out "the period during which tests should be intensified: the last third of a year before a major event. If they (testers) think they're going to catch cheats at the Olympic Games or a world championships, they are kidding themselves."http://sports.nationalpost.com/2011/10/20/today-in-weird-interviews-former-steroid-king-victor-conte-suspects-bolt-is-cheating/