Conte: Montgomery also a cheat

WASHINGTON: American sprinter Tim Montgomery was using performance enhancing drugs when he set the coveted 100m world record of 9.78sec, accused steroid peddler Victor Conte said in an interview aired on ABC television's 20/20 programme on Friday. 

Conte, one of four men facing charges stemming from an investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (BALCO), which he founded, said he developed a plan that included doping coupled with physical training specificially targeted at making Montgomery the world's fastest man. 

“I knew that this was the most coveted of all records,” Conte told interviewer Martin Bashir on ABC television's 20/20 programme. “So we kind of ... had a collective dream ... and I was ... the mastermind, so to speak.” 

Asked if he was talking about a “criminal conspiracy to break the world record,” Conte said: “Well, if you're asking if it included illegal activity, the answer would be yes.” 

But Conte said he believed Montgomery – who has denied wrongdoing – was just the latest 100m world record holder to have enhanced his abilities. 

“When you say legitimate, I believe if it was achieved using the exact same playing field as the previous record, and the previous record, and the previous record, then it is legitimate, because you're competing with the same terms and conditions... I mean, otherwise you'd have to wipe out all the world records.” 

The 29-year-old Montgomery has not tested positive for drugs, but the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has built a case against him based at least in part on information gathered in the criminal investigation of BALCO, which USDA officials say is the source of the designer steriod THG (tetrahydrogestrinone). 

In San Francisco, US sprint queen Marion Jones says she'll sue Conte over his allegations that she received banned drugs before winning five medals at the Sydney Olympics 

“Victor Contes allegations about me are not true, and the truth will come out in the appropriate forum,” Jones said Friday in a statement issued through her attorney.  

“I have instructed my lawyers to vigorously explore a defamation lawsuit against Victor Conte.” 

Jones, who has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing, won three gold medals and two bronze medals at Sydney but struggled this year simply to qualify for the Athens Games. 

She has never failed a drug test. – AFP 

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