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Syringe allowed chemists to unmask THG

8/23/2004

ATHENS, Greece -- A mystery at the center of track and
field's biggest doping scandal has finally been solved.

Top track coach Trevor Graham has admitted he was the coach who
anonymously sent a syringe of THG to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, a
key piece of evidence in the BALCO case that helped lead to
suspensions and possible lifetime bans against several athletes.

"I was just a coach doing the right thing at the time," Graham
said after one of his star pupils, Justin Gatlin, won the 100-meter
gold medal Sunday night. "I have no regrets."

Graham did not say why he turned in the syringe, which allowed
chemists to unmask the previously undetectable steroid, or how he
got the material.

Several of Graham's athletes have tested positive for steroids
and other banned substances, but he has denied dispensing any
drugs. He has been questioned by federal authorities in the BALCO
case, but has not been named as a target.

Graham is the former coach of Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery.
Jones is under investigation by USADA and Montgomery is charged
with steroid use and faces a lifetime ban if found guilty. Graham
also has coached Alvin Harrison and Michelle Collins, who face life
suspensions if found guilty of steroid use.

Federal officials say the THG came from the Bay Area Laboratory
Co-Operative, which was being probed for possible tax violations
when Graham turned in his syringe. Once authorities made the
connection, the BALCO investigation quickly gathered speed.

It has led to criminal charges against four men, including BALCO
founder Victor Conte, track coach Remy Korchemny and the personal
trainer of baseball star Barry Bonds. All four men have pleaded
innocent and await trial.

Five top track and field athletes -- four Americans and British
sprinter Dwain Chambers -- have tested positive for THG and been
suspended for a minimum of two years each. Former world champion
sprinter Kelli White was suspended after admitting use of THG and
other banned drugs.

Also, based on evidence gathered by the BALCO grand jury,
Montgomery, Collins, Harrison and Chryste Gaines have been charged
with steroid use and could be banned from the sport. All have
denied using drugs.