YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Harrison Accepts Four-Year Ban for Doping

Sprinter admits he used anabolic steroids and other drugs. Case arose from the BALCO probe.

October 20, 2004|Alan Abrahamson | Times Staff Writer

Sprinter Alvin Harrison, winner of two Olympic gold medals, on Tuesday accepted a four-year suspension for multiple doping violations revealed in the course of the BALCO investigation, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said.

Harrison, 30, of Raleigh, N.C., admitted using numerous performance-enhancing drugs, including anabolic steroids, insulin, human growth hormone, the blood-booster erythropoietin and the stimulant modafinil, USADA said.

Harrison agreed to forfeit all his winnings since Feb. 1, 2001. He won gold medals as part of the U.S. 1,600-meter relay teams at the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2000 Sydney Olympics; he also won silver in the 400 meters at Sydney. He did not take part in the 2004 Athens Games.

Three of the six U.S. men who competed in the preliminary rounds or final of the 1,600 relay at the Sydney Olympics have now been tied to doping violations.

Alvin Harrison's twin brother, Calvin, in August drew a two-year ban after a positive test last year for modafinil. Jerome Young tested positive in 1999 for the banned steroid nandrolone.

Young's positive test, which should have kept him out of the 2000 Games, prompted a request to the International Olympic Committee that all six American relay competitors, including Michael Johnson, be stripped of their medals. The matter is pending.

Alvin Harrison did not fail a sanctioned drug test. The USADA case against him was built on records acquired during a federal investigation of BALCO, the Burlingame, Calif.-based lab. His attorney, Robert Harris of Durham, N.C., said that Harrison believed "this was a good time to accept responsibility for his actions."

This year, sprinter Kelli White accepted a two-year ban after seeing evidence against her. She had not failed a sanctioned test either.

Four men, including BALCO founder Victor Conte, have been accused of distributing performance-enhancing substances, including the once-undetectable designer steroid tetrahydrogestrinone, or THG, to professional athletes. All four have pleaded not guilty in federal court in San Francisco.

In all, 10 athletes have been sanctioned after positive tests for THG or modafinil, two of the key substances in the BALCO matter, according to USADA.

A hearing in the USADA case against Tim Montgomery is scheduled for Nov. 1 in San Francisco. Montgomery, who holds the world record in the 100 meters, 9.78 seconds, allegedly used a cocktail of banned substances. He has not been charged with a criminal offense.

"We said a year ago that the situation at BALCO appeared to be doping of the worst sort," USADA's chief executive, Terry Madden, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this has proven true."

Los Angeles Times Articles