Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones: Vol. 40

Story by Eric.

This is the 40th submission in a long series about Marion Jones, a former elite sprinter who won honour and earned endorsements, fame and fortune by method of fraud. This series continues with the Victor Conte story, one which categorically ties Marion Jones to steroids. Though parts of this section may be historical in nature, its inclusion is relevant to the sum of the whole.

Marion Jones’s attorneys had been rather peculiar with respect to their actions against people who said they were in the know, and against those avenues which had carried forth those messages. They had also continued to leave open cause to question their statements, as first discussed earlier with regard to the “borderline” case issue.

Victor Conte need not be forced to tell the truth when deciding whether or not misconduct and illegal disorder was occurring at his BALCO laboratories. Evidence collected over a year’s period of time revealed to the world the secret agenda the laboratory was employing.

The short version of the collected evidence included:

· Also among the documents seized was a proposed pricing list that offered an “Indoor or Outdoor Track Program.” The cost for each was set at $20,000, with $10,345 covering “Medical Consultation” and $9,655 for supplies. Some of the supplies were noted with abbreviations for what the government and the doping agency believe were banned substances. For example: G-20 weeks-15 bottles at $150=$2,250 is believed to refer to human growth hormone, and E-12 weeks-16 bottles at $65=$1,040 is believed to refer to the oxygen-boosting drug EPO.

Also on the proposed program were bonuses to be paid BALCO if the athlete set a personal record ($10,000) or a world record ($20,000). [1]

The San Francisco Chronicle, in an article dated 2004-02-13, stated that IRS agent Jeff Novitzky had staked out the BALCO laboratory for over a year, retrieving items from the rubbish left for weekly trash collection pick-ups. Among those items were empty boxes and vials of two different illegal steroids, as well as HGH, a prescription anti-estrogen drug used by some athletes to recover from a steroid dosage, and 84 one-time-use used syringes, some contaminated with steroid residue.

The San Francisco Chronicle also revealed the following:

The document described a painstaking probe. In addition to the weekly trash seizures, investigators staked out BALCO for seven months, the affidavit indicates. Like the trash pickups, the stakeouts sometimes provided valuable evidence: In April, Novitzky said agents had watched as an international track star entered BALCO. He exited 10 minutes later with one pant-leg rolled up above his knee -- a sign, Novitzky wrote, that he had just received an injection.

Later in the probe, Novitzky said he had obtained warrants to search Conte's e-mail accounts at Yahoo.com. The e-mails, he wrote, showed Conte "communicating with professional athletes and coaches about steroids, defeating steroid testing, attempts to keep these activities covert and concealing financial transactions."[2]

Novitzky’s affidavit to search the BALCO laboratory, Victor Conte’s home and phone and e-mail records among others includes discovery of the following evidences examined in the discarded trash [3]:

· A torn, empty box of multiple vials of Serostin, a human growth hormone (2002-September-3);

· A torn, empty box of 200 mg vial of testosterone (2002-September-10);

· An empty pill container of Oxandrin (2002-November-18);

· At least eighty-four (84) empty, one-use syringe wrappers in various sizes (2002-September-3 through 2003-August-10);

· A Federal Express International Air Waybill detailing a shipment of “prescription drug personal medication” from a pharmacy in Ontario, Canada to Victor Conte at 345 California Drive in Burlingame, CA. The total weight of the package is listed as 3 pounds with a declared value of $431,75. The shipment is dated 2003-April-22 (2003-May-5);

· A November/December 2002 issue of “Anabolic Insider”, an underground steroid publication (2002-December-16);

· Various small envelopes and letters from an elite track and field athlete, who is currently the United States champion in his event, including the following:

· Vic, here is a check for the next cycl (sic)

I need it by the end of the week.

REDACTED (2002-December-16).

· Vic, here is $350, $300 for next

$50 for what I owed for the last.

Thanx, REDACTED (2003-February-3).

· Two (2) personal notes from an elite track and field athlete and world record holder. The notes read:

· Victor

Thank you for the help at nationals!



A bonus from “Team REDACTED” to

“Team Balco”(2003-March-24).

· Vic, here is $350, $300 for next

$50 for what I owed for the last.

Thanx, REDACTED (2003-February-3).

· Victor...Jim....

Just wanted to let you know I appreciate

Everything that you did. All that I have accomplished this season would not have been possible without your support. Thanks!! REDACTED (2003-March-24).

· A VVR International packaging list indicating a delivery of one 100-count package of 23-guage syringes and one 100-count package of 25-guage syringes to Balco Laboratories (2002-October-14).

· A VWR International packaging list indicating a delivery of one 100-count package of 25-guage syringes and one 200-count package of “low dose insulin syringes” (2003-July-28).

· A yellow post-it note listing human growth hormones Nutropin AQ and Somatropin, both substances with steroid-like strength enhancing features (2003-April-28).

· Four (4) empty “pill-sheets” of “Omifin”, a prescription clomid or anti-estrogen drug typically taken by steroid users after a steroid cycle to improve their recover of natural testosterone production (2002-December-16 through 2003-January-13).

· One empty box of Epogen, a prescription erythropoietin that stimulates the production of oxygen carrying red blood cells and is commonly used by endurance athletes to increase stamina and athletic performance. The box once contained ten (10) 1,0 ml single use vials (2003-January-13).

· An empty and shredded box of Procrit, a prescription erythropoietin used to increase red blood cell production and commonly used by endurance athletes to achieve better fitness. The box once contained twenty-five (25) 1 ml vials (2003-March-31).

· Two (2) empty pills sheets of prescription diuretics, which are commonly used by bodybuilders to rid themselves of excess water or fluids to make their muscles stand out. It is also used to mask the presence of steroids in drug tests (2003-January-13).

· Three (3) torn versions of a letter addressed to IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) and the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) testing personnel, disclosing allegations of steroid distribution by a renowned track and field coach to several elite track and field athletes. The letter alleges that the coach obtains a specific steroid from Mexico and specifically details the scheduling of events and testing to avoid detection of the steroid use.

· Portion of an e-mail addressed to “Victor” that discusses characteristics of athletic performance enhancing drugs, similar to anabolic steroids, as well as their prices (2002-September-16).

Marion Jones’s attorneys stated that a person one can consider a cheat and a crook should not be given credence when speaking about her, yet Marion Jones, who later has been deemed a crook and a cheat is to be believed?

Conte took such an opportunity on the ABC program “20/20” to tell the world the truth about doping. He began naming names – those of Marion Jones and White, and detailed accounts of steroids use by Marion Jones.

Irrespective of Marion Jones’s claims that Conte was lying, and her counsel’s claims that he was unable to be trusted, Victor Conte had made similar statements about other athletes, with the following certitudes having been verified and labelled as truths:

Victor Conte stated he provided Bill Romanowski in 1999 an early version of the undetectable “clear”. He stated he also provided three other Oakland Raiders players, who tested positive in 2003 for THG, drugs. Romanowski, on Oct. 16, 2005, told the CBS news show 60 Minutes an interview that he used steroids and human growth hormone, stating Victor Conte was the source of the drugs. The other three athletes who tested positive for THG were Barrett Robbins, Chris Cooper and Dana Stubblefield. Each of them was fined for their THG drug use, with Stubblefield, on 2008-January-18, pleading guilty to felony charges of lying to Federal agents about having used “the clear” and EPO in connection with BALCO. He was sent a letter from the NFL dated 2003-November-7, notifying him of his positive test for THG; six days later, he made his denials to Agent Novitzky. Stubblefield is scheduled to be sentenced on 2008-April-25.

· Romanowski had the following to say about his encounters with Conte:

One thing I do know about Victor is he's an honest guy,” Romanowski said. “Some of the real criminals were the investigators . . . with the different tactics that they would use and the different lies that they would use to try to get information. A lot of the guys that were busting him were guys that had bought steroids from him on a regular basis -- and took them.”[4]

Victor Conte stated he provided Chryste Gaines a small amount of “the clear” in 1999. Conte states that Gaines was not particularly interested in the drug, having only used it to get to the “next level”. Gaines told the Grand Jury she had used performance-enhancing drugs provided by BALCO and was suspended for the period of 2005-June-6 to 2007-June-6.

Victor Conte stated he provided Tim Montgomery "the clear," along with insulin, growth hormone and adrenaline. Montgomery told the Federal Grand Jury on 2003-November-6 that he had used performance-enhancing drugs provided by BALCO.

Victor Conte said that in 2003 he gave Dwain Chambers THG (“the clear”), testosterone/epitestosterone cream, EPO (Procrit), HGH (Serostim), insulin (Humalog), modafinil (Provigil) and liothryonine, which is a synthetic form of the T3 thyroid hormone (Cytomel). The Clear was taken on Mondays and Wednesdays for three consecutive weeks followed by a week off during Chambers’ off-season to accelerate healing and tissue repair.

According to Conte, who wrote a letter in May 2008 for Chambers on his behalf to provide UK Sport information to help fight doping, the testosterone/epitestosterone cream was also primarily used during the off season on a three-on/one-off cycle, and was rubbed into the skin on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The EPO was used during the first two weeks of the cycle on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with stomach injections clearing the body 24 hours after intravenous injections.

Finally, the human growth hormone was used nightly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays following hard exercises during the off-season to help speed up recovery.

Chambers initially stated he inadvertently ingested THG as part of a BALCO supplement he was taking, but later recanted his story and confessed of having taken performance-enhancing drugs.

Chambers’ solicitor stated following the two-year ban announcement, “Dwain was charged with taking a substance which was not listed as a banned substance but which fell within the 'catch-all' provision of the IAAF rules as being either chemically or pharmacologically related to a banned substance. Dwain's challenge to the UK Athletics and IAAF allegations regarding THG focused on the fact that although there was scientific evidence to show that THG was chemically related to banned substances, this, in itself, could not be sufficient to constitute a doping offence.”[5]

Chambers later accepted responsibility for his drug-taking, stating, “I didn’t think I would get caught.” Chambers was banned for two years from his athletics federation, and he was permanently banned from all Olympic competition following testing positive for THG - a case which is still on-going with his federation.

Victor Conte stated he provided Alvin and Calvin Harrison with “the clear” the summer before the 2000 Olympics. Montgomery implicated Alvin under oath during his Grand Jury testimony. Documents concerning Alvin were seized during the BALCO raid. Alvin Harrison admitted to the USADA findings brought against him and was banned. Calvin was banned for the same sleeping-disorder substance as White. Both athletes testified before the Grand Jury.

Victor Conte said Kelli White got the same drugs as Chambers, along with a drug called thyroid hormone T-3. White was canned after being thrown a two-year ban after admitting using performance-enhancing drugs provided by BALCO. White appeared on “20/20” to discuss her drugs regime, stating: “He made me believe that if I followed a certain protocol of supplements and different drugs that I could become number one in the world.” [6] White was subsequently stripped of her 2003 USA Outdoor 100m and 200m titles, her 2003 World Championships 100m and 200m titles (including $120.000 in prize money), and was stripped of all results between 2000-December-15 – 2004-May-19. White began taking drugs in 2003-March.

Victor Conte stated privately in a personal communication never submitted to its recipient, USADA, that Justin Gatlin was using Oral Andriol testosterone undecanoate. Gatlin has tested positive for elevated testosterone levels.

Victor Conte had gone on record - on the television show “20/20” with correspondent Martin Bashir, and on a sports internet site (ESPN the Magazine) - as stating he provided Marion Jones with human growth hormone, insulin, EPO and “the clear.” Marion Jones had had an “A”-test reveal unnatural EPO admittance into her chemical make-up, and had her “B”-sample results nullify the “A”-sample. He also names on the program White and Montgomery as recipients of his drugs regime. Marion Jones would later self-confess to having been on “the clear” – a product obtained from BALCO.

Kevin Toth, whom Victor Conte has featured on his SNAC internet site with a photo captioned, “Kevin Toth 72-9¾, ZMA Powered”, and whose name appears on the alleged confession list Conte is to have provided I.R.S. Agent Novitzky, was banned for two years by USADA after testing positive for THG, and for also testing positive for modafinil at the 2003 USA Championships at Stanford University. His 22,67m shot put at the 2003 Kansas Relays was the furthest throw in the world since 1990. Toth was stripped of his 2003 national championship title as well as his fourth-place finish at the 2003 World Championships. Toth had retained Howard Jacobs, Marion Jones’s attorney, to represent him, with Toth stating in his defence that he had never taken any substance that was banned by the IAAF (THG was not known to IAAF), and, specifically, had never heard of THG.

The inquiring mind begs to intellectually reason – considering each and every one of the aforementioned athletes whom Conte had alleged to have previously provided illegal substances (save the Marion Jones revelation) had tested positive (consequently not each for the drugs they had been administered) – how Marion Jones could have been the lone exception to the rule.

The simple answer is now – and has always been – that she wasn’t.


[1] San Francisco Chronicle, “Must athletes cheat to win?”, 2004-07-08 [2] San Francisco Chronicle, “Drug ring aided top jocks,” 2004-02-13 [3] San Francisco Chronicle, “Affidavit of Special Agent Jeff Novitzky...”, 2004-02-13 [4] The Boston Globe, “Romanowski marketing healing supplements”, 2007-06-26 [5] BBC Sport, “Chambers’ statement in full”, 2004-02-24 [6] ABC News, “BALCO Chief on Sports Doping Scandal”, 2004-12-03

0 kommentarer: