Archive for Thursday, May 20, 2004

White accepts two-year ban

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May 20, 2004

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— American sprinter Kelli White accepted a two-year drug ban Wednesday, costing her a trip to the Athens Olympics and every medal she won during the past four years.

White tested positive for the stimulant modafinil at last year's world championships and U.S. nationals. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said it also found evidence she used undetectable steroids and the endurance-enhancing hormone erythropoietin.

The USADA, based in nearby Colorado Springs, said some evidence was obtained through documents from the federal investigation into BALCO.

"In doing this, I have not only cheated myself, but also my family, friends and sport," White said in a statement issued by her attorney. "I am sorry for the poor choices I have made."

The 27-year-old sprinter said she plans to compete again when the ban ends in May 2006.

White is the first athlete to be suspended based on information from the BALCO case. The Bay Area drug company is accused of illegally distributing steroids and performance-enhancing drugs to professional athletes.

The Senate this month released information in the BALCO case to Olympic officials, who requested the materials so they could be sure to field a clean team in Athens.

Five-time Olympic medalist Marion Jones said last week she would sue USADA if it prevents her from going to Athens without a positive drug test, but White decided against fighting the suspension.

"If given the opportunity, there is so much I would do differently," White said. "Unfortunately, we cannot go back in time. I can only go forward and make sure I do the right things from here on out."

Modafinil carries a public warning and disqualification from the event where the positive test took place, but the use of EPO and the previously undetectable steroid THG means all of White's results since Dec. 15, 2000, will be wiped out.

That means she will be stripped of her gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters at last year's world championships in Paris, and a gold and bronze at the 2001 worlds in Edmonton.

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