Archive for Wednesday, October 20, 2004

U.S. sprinter accepts suspension

Harrison expected to retire at 30 after doping penalty

October 20, 2004

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— Two-time Olympic gold medalist Alvin Harrison accepted a four-year suspension from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency on Tuesday for drug violations uncovered in the BALCO case.

The 30-year-old sprinter, who won gold medals as part of U.S. relay teams at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, was charged with violations of anti-doping rules based in part on evidence presented in the Senate in May, then turned over to USADA before the Athens Games.

"It's a bittersweet day," USADA chief executive officer Terry Madden said. "It's good that another athlete in the BALCO drug conspiracy has been brought to justice. It's a sad day because we now know a conspiracy is out there. Athletes have admitted to it and people are using prohibited substances."

Harrison's attorney, Robert Harris, said his client was going to retire soon so accepting the penalty made sense.

"He wanted to come forth and accept responsibility instead of dragging this out," Harris said. "Alvin is looking forward to getting on with his life."

The evidence did not include a positive drug test, but did include information gathered during the federal probe of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative.

Harrison became the second athlete to accept a suspension for using illegal substances despite not testing positive. Sprinter Kelli White, who forfeited two world titles, earlier accepted a two-year suspension.

Another 10 athletes have received sanctions for testing positive for THG or modafinil, two of the drugs linked to BALCO. Among them is Harrison's twin brother, Calvin, who is serving a two-year suspension.

USADA said Alvin Harrison admitted to using "numerous undetectable performance-enhancing drugs, including anabolic steroids known as the 'clear' and the 'cream,' insulin, erythropoietin (EPO), growth hormone and modafinil."

In accepting the suspension, Harrison forfeits all his winnings since Feb. 1, 2001. He did not compete in the Athens Olympics.

The Harrison twins were on the 1,600-meter relay squad that won gold at the 2000 Sydney Games, but all members of that squad face forfeiture of their medals because of a doping violation by team member Jerome Young a year before the Olympics.

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