U.S. sprinters receive two-year bans
LAUSANNE, Switzerland - His world record is erased for good, along with every result, every medal and all the prize money from the past five years.
It's as if Tim Montgomery never ran the 100 meters. And whatever else he did - it doesn't matter now.
Though Montgomery did not test positive for drugs, the American sprinter was banned for two years Tuesday for doping, based on evidence gathered in the criminal investigation of the BALCO steroid scandal and the testimony of fellow sprinter Kelli White.
For the same reasons, two-time Olympic relay medalist Chryste Gaines also received a two-year ban from the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency had requested four-year suspensions for both runners, but CAS - the highest court in sports - cut the penalty in half. The decisions are final and binding.
The bans were backdated to June 6, 2005, the first day of Montgomery's hearing. CAS voided all of Montgomery's performances since March 31, 2001, and Gaines' results since Nov. 30, 2003.
That means Montgomery's former world 100-meter record of 9.78 seconds - set in Paris in September 2002 - is no longer recognized. That record was broken on June 14 in Athens, Greece, when Jamaica's Asafa Powell ran it in 9.77.
Montgomery, 30, will also lose the 100-meter silver medal from the 2001 World Championships, a race won by former record holder Maurice Greene. The silver will now go to American Bernard Williams, with Ato Boldon of Trinidad and Tobago going from fourth to bronze.
Montgomery, who is the father of a child with Olympic sprint champion Marion Jones, also forfeits his gold medal in the 400-meter relay from the 2001 worlds.
"It is always a great day for clean athletes when individuals who cheat are held accountable and stripped of the rewards gained through doping," USADA chief executive officer Terry Madden said in a statement. "The unfortunate part of this BALCO chapter is that these two athletes knew they were guilty of doping and they wasted everyone's time and resources attempting to run from the consequences of their actions."
USA Track & Field, the sport's national governing body, said it would negate all of Montgomery's performances from March 31, 2001, to the present, and all of Gaines' from Nov. 30, 2003 until now.
"It is sad when any athlete makes the tragic decision to cheat, because it robs other athletes of their deserved recognition and hurts our sport," said Craig Masback, chief executive officer of USATF.
CAS said it had "strong, indeed uncontroverted, evidence of doping" by both Montgomery and Gaines.
The court said it based its ruling largely on the testimony of White, a former world sprint champion who was suspended for two years in 2004 in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative case. She promised to cooperate with investigators.
White testified that Montgomery and Gaines both admitted to her that they used a prohibited substance provided by BALCO.
CAS said White's evidence was "fatal" to both athletes' cases, especially since they both declined to testify at their hearings.
"The panel unanimously found that Ms. White's testimony was both credible and sufficient to establish that the athletes had indeed admitted to have used prohibited substances in violation of applicable anti-doping rules," CAS said.
White testified she spoke with Montgomery at a meet in March 2001 about the "clear," referring to THG, the previously undetectable steroid at the heart of the BALCO case. She said she trained with Gaines from 2000-03, and they spoke regularly about the "clear" and another substance called "the cream."
Attorney Howard Jacobs, who represented Montgomery through the hearings process, criticized the ruling, saying the board misinterpreted White's testimony.
"They relied pretty much exclusively on the supposed admission to Kelli White by Tim, but if you look at it it's really not an admission at all," Jacobs said. "What Tim said and what they think Tim said are two different things." According to Jacobs, White testified that Montgomery asked her if using "the clear" made her calf muscles tight. There was no testimony that Montgomery told White that the substance made his calf muscles tight, Jacobs said.
Jacobs stopped representing Montgomery as of Dec. 1. He declined to say why.
The CAS panel cited other evidence:
- Blood test results from a Mexican laboratory in February 2000 allegedly showed Montgomery's testosterone level doubled in one day.
- Evidence of possible masking in 59 urine tests from March 1999 to September 2004.
- Abnormal blood test results on five occasions between November 2000 and July 2001.
USADA can ban athletes without a positive doping test if there is other sufficient evidence - so-called "non-analytical positives." The agency reviewed thousands of documents seized by federal investigators looking into the BALCO case.
"The panel chose to make its decision based on the testimony of one athlete, Kelli White," said Cameron Myler, Gaines' attorney. "With these decisions for Chryste and Tim, really we've opened some questions about cases that involve non-analytical positives.
"One of the big outstanding questions is, how much evidence is enough for a doping agency to find an athlete guilty without a positive test?"
USADA originally sought lifetime bans for both runners but lowered its request to four years after dropping charges of "assisting or inciting" doping and "trafficking" in drugs.
A total of 14 athletes have received sanctions in the BALCO case, including five without positive tests.
Earlier this month, BALCO founder Victor Conte began a four-month prison sentence in California for orchestrating an illegal steroids distribution scheme.
Montgomery and Gaines were among dozens of athletes who testified in 2003 before a federal grand jury in San Francisco probing BALCO. Montgomery testified that in 2001 Conte gave him weekly doses of human growth hormone and the "clear," the San Francisco Chronicle reported in June 2004.
The San Jose Mercury News published details last year of a plan Montgomery and Conte came up with in 2000 to turn him into the world's fastest man. The plan - "Project World Record" - allegedly called for Montgomery to take THG
THERE GOES THEIR ENDORSEMENT CONTRACTS.