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May 20, 2004

Olympic Hopeful Is Casualty Of Drug Scandal

FROM THE FALLOUT OF THE BALCO DEBACLE comes the first athlete barred from the Olympics based on documentary evidence only.

There were no urine samples or test tubes involved whatsoever in the two year suspension of Kelli White, a champion sprinter expected to win several medals in the Athens Olympics.

White admitted to using steroids and a blood enhancing substance after she learned of the evidence against her. Significantly, White’s lawyer announced that she will be a witness as the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) progresses with its Balco investigation.

White said in a statement, “I felt it was important to step up, accept responsibility and assist in cleaning up my sport.”

Ahem.

Some folks might wonder if there are other reasons for her newfound conscience.

White’s admission made the suspension verdict relatively easy. Said Howard Jacobs, an attorney well-versed in performance enhancing drug litigation, “Short of admission, it’s going to be really tough to get someone suspended without a positive drug test.”

However, as today’s advanced pharmacology wizards have produced illegal “designer” drugs that are undetectable by current procedures, more and more athletes may be confronted—as Kelli White was—with damning evidence of nefarious activities.

Even if an athlete has not failed a drug test, the USADA will build a case if it can—beyond a shadow of a doubt. This is known as a nonanalytical positive.

The Senate Commerce Committee forwarded documents about White to the Anti-Doping Agency, and their contents persuaded her to issue an admission.

Next in the sights of the USADA seem to be Olympic sprint champion Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery, the world’s fastest man, around each of whom has swirled a troublesome cloud of intimation, insinuation and innuendo.

It’s not just Wheaties-the breakfast of champions any more.

(this 293 word excerpt—with related commentary—was distilled from a 1497 word article in the New York Times of 5-20-04)