Former Olympian Montgomery sentenced to five years on heroin charges

Updated: October 10, 2008, 1:00 PM ET
Associated Press

NORFOLK, Va. -- Disgraced former Olympic track star Tim Montgomery, once dubbed "the world's fastest man," was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for dealing heroin to an informant.

"I was blind -- I never had a job in my life," Montgomery told U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Friedman. "I did the wrong thing."

Montgomery, 33, will serve the five-year sentence after he completes a 46-month prison term for an unrelated conviction in New York.

Under an agreement with the government, he pleaded guilty in July to possession and distribution of more than 100 grams of heroin. He received the minimum term under federal sentencing guidelines.

A prosecutor described Montgomery's athletic skills as "super-human," but said he had squandered his talent and the acclaim and the money that came with it. Montgomery won an Olympic gold medal in the 400-meter relay at the 2000 Games and a silver in the same event four years earlier. A doping scandal wiped his achievements from the books.

In a nearly empty courtroom, Montgomery accepted his sentence accompanied only by his lawyer, James Broccoletti. His parents and siblings traveled in a van from South Carolina for the sentencing, but did not arrive before the 20-minute hearing ended, Broccoletti said.

"What we find here is someone who has wrecked his life," the prosecutor, Eric M. Hurt, told the court.

He noted that Montgomery's heroin arrest came as he awaited sentencing on a check-kiting scheme that ultimately sent him to prison in New York.

"He has chosen to ignore every benefit given to him," Hurt said.

Montgomery, hands clasped behind his back, softly addressed Friedman.

"I just want to say I've very sorry for what I've done," he told the judge. "I'm sorry to my community and my family."

Friedman ordered five years of supervised release and drug testing after Montgomery serves his heroin sentence. He also called Montgomery "totally irresponsible" for fathering four children with four different women, including fellow disgraced Olympian Marion Jones.

Montgomery's heroin prosecution is based on four drug sales he made in 2007 and 2008 in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. A Drug Enforcement Agency informant made buys that were either electronically videotaped, tape-recorded or witnessed by agents, according to court records.

Montgomery's Olympic medals and his world-record 9.78-second performance in the 100-meter dash were wiped clean after he was linked to the investigation of BALCO, the West Coast lab at the center of the steroid scandal in sports. He also was banned from track and field for two years.

Although he never tested positive for drugs, he retired in December 2005 after the ban was imposed.

Last year, he admitted helping his former coach, Olympic champion Steve Riddick, and others cash $1.7 million in stolen and counterfeit checks.

Riddick is serving a five-year prison term. Jones, Montgomery's former companion, recently was released from prison after serving a six-month sentence for lying to investigators about the check-fraud scam and using steroids.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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