U.S. sprinter Alvin Harrison, one of four athletes facing a lifetime ban for drug charges related to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) scandal, admitted taking a variety of banned drugs and agreed to a four-year ban from the sport, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced yesterday.
Harrison, whose twin brother Calvin received a two-year ban for stimulant use this past summer, acknowledged using a number of undetectable steroids including two known as "clear" and "cream," along with the endurance-building erythropoietin (EPO), human growth hormone, the stimulant modafinil and insulin.
"We said a year ago that the situation at BALCO appeared to be doping of the worst sort," U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Terry Madden said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this has proven to be true."
Four men connected to BALCO were charged in February with distributing steroids to high-profile amateur and professional athletes.
Harrison, who won the silver medal in the 400 meters at the 2000 Summer Games, agreed to forfeit all of his competitive results dating back to Feb. 1, 2001. His ban will remain in effect until Oct. 18, 2008, after the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.
Neither Harrison nor any of the other three athletes facing lifetime bans from USADA -- Tim Montgomery, Chryste Gaines and Michelle Collins -- qualified for the U.S. team that competed at the 2004 Olympics.
The cases against all four are unusual in that they were accused of drug use despite not having tested positive for any banned substances. USADA brought the charges after reviewing documents seized in a federal raid of BALCO last fall and provided to USADA via a Senate decision in May.
Harrison became the second athlete who had not tested positive for steroids to accept a suspension rather than fight the matter in court. Kelli White was forced to relinquish her 2003 world titles in the 100 and 200 after making an admission similar to Harrison's in the spring. She, however, received only a two-year ban.
Hearings for Montgomery, Gaines and Collins are expected to be in early November.
Montgomery, the world record holder in the 100, and Gaines, an Olympic relay gold medal winner, appealed directly to the Swiss-based International Court of Arbitration for Sport.
-- Amy Shipley