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Papers Detail Trail of Doping

Letter from U.S. agency spells out which banned substances Montgomery allegedly used, dating the usage to two years before his world record.

June 22, 2004|Alan Abrahamson and David Wharton | Times Staff Writers

To get to the starting line this summer in Athens, Tim Montgomery -- the world-record holder in the 100-meter dash and boyfriend of track superstar Marion Jones -- must answer allegations of doping that are more extensive than previously disclosed.

According to documents obtained by The Times, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency alleges that Montgomery used five banned steroids as well as the blood-booster EPO, human growth hormone and insulin. USADA alleges Montgomery used banned substances as far back as 2000, two years before setting the 100-meter mark.

In notifying Montgomery of "potential" doping violations that may keep him off the U.S. Olympic team this summer, USADA also says it "anticipates testimony" -- it does not say from whom -- regarding Montgomery's "admitted use of the 'clear,' " a reference to code for the designer steroid THG.

Other evidence against Montgomery allegedly includes urine and blood test results that USADA says are consistent with the use of banned substances; calendars sketching out cycles of substance use; handwritten notes that make reference to various steroids; and laboratory payments, invoices and correspondence.

The allegations are contained in a letter that USADA sent to Montgomery on June 7. The letter notifies Montgomery of potential violations; the deadline for a response was Friday.

Montgomery has never failed a doping test administered by track or Olympic authorities. His attorney, Cristina C. Arguedas, of Emeryville, Calif., outlined the essence of a response, saying in a news release that there is no evidence that Montgomery has ever admitted the use of banned substances. She added, "Tim Montgomery has done nothing wrong, and we believe that any fair reading of the evidence in fact supports his innocence."

Arguedas also said that "virtually all" of the allegations against Montgomery come from the files of Victor Conte, founder of the Burlingame, Calif.-based Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO. The two had a "bitter" falling-out and thus the "very nature of Conte's relationship with Tim makes these documents suspect and unreliable on their face," she said.

A review board is expected to meet this week to consider the cases against Montgomery and three other top U.S. sprinters -- Chryste Gaines, Michelle Collins and Alvin Harrison. Earlier, another sprinter, Kelli White, accepted a two-year ban that will keep her out of the Athens Games, which begin Aug. 13.

An expedited review of any case is likely. The U.S. Olympic track and field trials begin July 9.

Montgomery, who finished sixth on Saturday in the 100 in a key pre-Trials meet in Eugene, Ore., told reporters there that the case against him "is not on paper." "It's all somebody saying something," he said. "It's Kelli White and she don't live with me, so I don't know how she would know.... USADA is making up the rules. How can you have someone testify when they don't even swear under oath?"

USADA's nine-page letter to Montgomery does not mention White. Any case formally brought against him and the others would appear to be based on blood or urine tests, ledgers, grand jury testimony and other materials. For instance, Gaines told reporters at Saturday's Prefontaine Classic in Eugene that she had not been told which substance she stands accused of using, "so I don't have anything to fight."

In its June 7 letter to Gaines, USADA alleges that she used five steroids as well as EPO, growth hormone and modafinil, a stimulant used by doctors to treat the sleeping disorder narcolepsy. Modafinil was referred to as "S" or "S vitamin," USADA alleged.

USADA further alleged that Gaines, a two-time Olympic relay medalist, admitted doping use in grand jury testimony and says she is the individual identified only as an "elite track athlete" in a Feb. 27 motion filed by prosecutors in federal court in San Francisco.

That athlete, according to the motion, "specifically discussed" use of the clear with track coach Remi Korchemny; the motion also says that Korchemny was aware of the athlete's use of human growth hormone.

Gaines' attorney could not be reached for comment.

USADA's actions are tied to the ongoing federal criminal case in San Francisco that centers on BALCO; four men, including Conte and Korchemny, are charged with steroid distribution. Several major league baseball players, NFL players and world-class track and field athletes have been linked to BALCO, among them Montgomery and Jones.

The accusations against Montgomery are derived from BALCO records that were seized by authorities last year, then subpoenaed this spring by the U.S. Senate and handed over to USADA. The effort is, in part, a reaction to criticism by international sports officials that the United States has been soft on doping violators. U.S. Olympic officials have vowed that the American team sent to Greece this summer will be free of doping cheats.

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