APNewsBreak: Ex-sprint champ Block in doping probe

FILE - This is a Monday, Aug. 6, 2001 file photo of Ukraine's Zhanna Pintusevich-Block, left, beats Marion Jones to the line to win the women's 100-meter final during the World Track & Field Championships at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta. Track and field officials are investigating former world champion sprinter Zhanna Block for doping and could seek to strip the Ukrainian of her medals in a BALCO steroid case that goes back a decade and centers on one of Marion Jones' biggest rivals, The Associated Press has learned. It's now up to the International Association of Athletics Federations or the Ukrainian federation to take any retroactive action against Zhanna Block, who was formerly known as Zhanna Pintusevich and won three world sprint titles in the late 1990s and early 2000s. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)
FILE - This is a Monday, Aug. 6, 2001 file photo of Ukraine's Zhanna Pintusevich-Block, left, beats Marion Jones to the line to win the women's 100-meter final during the World Track & Field Championships at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta. Track and field officials are investigating former world champion sprinter Zhanna Block for doping and could seek to strip the Ukrainian of her medals in a BALCO steroid case that goes back a decade and centers on one of Marion Jones' biggest rivals, The Associated Press has learned. It's now up to the International Association of Athletics Federations or the Ukrainian federation to take any retroactive action against Zhanna Block, who was formerly known as Zhanna Pintusevich and won three world sprint titles in the late 1990s and early 2000s. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File) (Amy Sancetta - AP)

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By STEPHEN WILSON
The Associated Press
Thursday, March 24, 2011; 3:51 PM

LONDON -- Track and field is investigating former world champion sprinter Zhanna Block for doping and could try to strip the Ukrainian of her medals in a BALCO steroid case that goes back a decade and centers on one of Marion Jones' biggest rivals.

Block is under scrutiny after a U.S. anti-doping arbitration panel suspended her husband - coach and agent Mark Block - for 10 years last week after finding he trafficked in drugs supplied by BALCO and gave them to his wife.

It's now up to the International Association of Athletics Federations or the Ukrainian federation to take any retroactive action against Zhanna Block, who was formerly known as Zhanna Pintusevich and won three world sprint titles in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

"There is an ongoing investigation," IAAF vice president Sergei Bubka, who is from Ukraine, told The Associated Press in an e-mail. "I am not at liberty to discuss any details of who is managing the case, and what the likely outcome might be."

The investigation raises the issue of statue of limitations - Block's prestigious 100-meter world title dates back 10 years - as well as further rewriting of the already messy doping-tainted results and record books.

"I do not want to prejudge the outcome of any investigation but, in general, IAAF rules allow for retroactive sanctions and this has happened often in the past," Bubka said.

"Although I am not in a position to discuss this particular case, I remain 100 percent committed to the IAAF's zero-tolerance stance regarding doping in athletics," the former Olympic pole vault champion and reigning world-record holder added.

The U.S. arbitration panel, in a ruling released Friday by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, cited evidence that Mark Block traded and trafficked in designer drugs the "clear" and the "cream" and other banned substances from BALCO for his wife's use.

Mark Block's attorney said Tuesday he will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The sprinter, who is now retired from athletics, married Mark Block in 1999. Mark Block has been an athlete representative since 1997.

"The IAAF has been working hand-in-hand with USADA since 2003 to ensure that all athletes and athlete support personnel involved in the conspiracy are brought to justice," the IAAF said in a statement.

Zhanna Block was one of the world's dominant female sprinters during an era that was later exposed as riddled with performance-enhancing drugs.


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