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The BALCO Saga

By Bonnie Berkowitz and Julie Tate
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, Dec. 4, 2003, Page D10

Events leading up to and surrounding the federal grand jury hearings on Victor Conte and his lab:

July 3, 1984: Victor Conte forms the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO).

Jan. 13, 1988: Conte incorporates Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning (SNAC), a supplement company separate from BALCO, and begins seeking a breakthrough product.

1996: Conte develops a dietary supplement purported to build muscle and calls it ZMA. He co-authors a scientific study of its effectiveness and later recruits athlete endorsers, including San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds and sprinter Tim Montgomery.

Sept. 26, 2000: The IAAF confirms that U.S. shot-putter C.J. Hunter tested positive for the steroid nandrolone. Conte, speaking as Hunter's nutritionist, says Hunter must have ingested a contaminated supplement.

2001: Conte registers with USA Track and Field as head of the ZMA Track Club, beginning with four athletes.

June 2003: The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) receives a syringe containing a previously unknown steroid from an anonymous track coach. The substance is named tetrahydrogestrinone, or THG.

Aug. 30, 2003: IAAF announces that sprinter Kelli White, who won gold in the 100 and 200 meters at the world championships in July, tested positive for modafinil, a stimulant. White's physician, Conte associate Brian Halevie-Goldman, said he gave her the drug for the sleep disorder narcolepsy.

Sept. 3 and 5, 2003: Agents from the IRS and San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force raid BALCO lab and the house of Bonds's trainer, Greg Anderson.

Sept. 22, 2003: BALCO terminates its California operating license, citing "adverse financial circumstances."

Oct. 16, 2003: USADA announces that "several" track and field athletes tested positive for THG. The agency said the steroid came from Victor Conte and BALCO. Names of four of the athletes are reported by the media in the following days.

Oct. 20, 2003: New York Yankees player Jason Giambi confirms that he is one of dozens of professional athletes, including Bonds and Marion Jones, subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury investigating BALCO.

Oct. 21, 2003: The IAAF says it will retest all samples from the summer's world track championships for THG. Several athletic organizations follow suit.

Late October: The federal grand jury begins hearing testimony in the Conte case.

Oct. 22: USA Track & Field announces a "zero tolerance" plan that would ban first-time steroid offenders for life. If approved by USATF voters this week, the measure will take effect Jan. 1.

Oct. 28, 2003: The Food and Drug Administration bans THG, saying that it can harm users.

Nov. 13: 2003: Major League Baseball announces that 5 to 7 percent of anonymous steroid tests since spring 2002 came back positive.

Nov. 16: News organizations report that four members of the Oakland Raiders tested positive for THG.

© Copyright 2002 The Washington Post Company

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