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IAAF to Consider Investigating Sprinter Jones

By Amy Shipley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 4, 2004; Page D10

Responding to new allegations of drug use by sprint star Marion Jones, the world governing body of track and field (IAAF) will consider today whether to conduct a formal investigation of Jones, an IAAF official said yesterday.

IAAF General Secretary Istvan Gyulai said the IAAF had obtained transcripts of last night's ABC News "20/20" interview in which Victor Conte -- the founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) who is under indictment on federal steroid charges -- claimed to have given steroids and other drugs to Jones before the 2000 Olympics.

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World Anti-Doping Agency Chairman Dick Pound said he was supportive of the IAAF position and expected International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge to take a similar stance. The IOC said yesterday it was monitoring the situation but had no comment.

Jones vehemently denied Conte's charges through her attorney Thursday and yesterday issued a personal response.

"Victor Conte's allegations about me are not true, and the truth will come out in the appropriate forum," Jones said in a statement. "I have instructed my lawyers to vigorously explore a defamation lawsuit against Victor Conte."

Jones is under investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency but has not been charged.

Gyulai stressed the IAAF would treat the Conte interview merely as allegations but that the organization felt compelled to follow up in the interest of "clean and honest sport."

He said the issue would be addressed by the IAAF Council during meetings in Helsinki.

"If it is necessary, the IAAF will start an investigation," Gyulai said. "We will not turn a blind eye to it."

He also said the IAAF likely would reach out to USADA.

USADA chief executive Terry Madden said the organization had cooperated with the IAAF on BALCO matters since June 2003 and would continue to do so "until the final chapter is closed." USADA has banned about a dozen athletes connected to BALCO in the last year.

Conte said on "20/20" he worked with Jones from August 2000 through September 2001, designing a drug program that included the previously undetectable steroid THG -- which Conte referred to as "the clear" -- the endurance-building drug erythropoietin (EPO), human growth hormone and insulin.

Conte also claimed that he showed Jones how to inject human growth hormone and that she administered the drug in his presence, shooting herself up in the leg.

Jones's attorney, Richard M. Nichols, denied the allegations and said Conte was "not credible."

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