March Madness: BALCO Investigation
Thousand three and overnight delivery arrived at the offices of the United States Anti Doping Agency or you Sada the night before. An anonymous caller. Who told you saw that in? Undetectable steroid known as the clear was being distributed to top level athletes by Victor Conte of Bay Area Laboratory. Cooperative or Belco when you saw investigators opened the package. They were shocked to discover a syringe containing trace amounts of the mysterious substance substance that unbeknownst to them had infiltrated the top echelons of nearly every professional sport. Welcome to sports criminals. A par cast original. This is the fourteenth episode in our March Madness special month. Were counting down the top thirty one sports scandals from one thousand nine hundred eighty two two thousand twenty. I'm Carter Roy and I'm Tim Johnson. In today's episode. We're going back to two thousand three and the BELCO steroid scandal federal agents had already been investigating Balakot since August of two thousand and two after an Olympic. Shot put her. Cj Hunter had tested positive for performance enhancing drugs C J. Hunter may not have been big enough name to warrant a federal investigation. But the same couldn't be said for his wife track and Field Star Marion Jones. After winning three gold medals at the Sydney Olympics in two thousand Marion Jones was perhaps the most beloved track and field athlete in the world. Not only was she. Incredibly talented to also stunningly beautiful combination that resulted in several lucrative endorsement deals but allegations of performance. Enhancing drug use had dog Jones ever since high school when the feds launched their investigation. They realize Jones is trainer. Was an associate of alcoves. Victor Conte after you. Sada received the syringe. They opened an investigation of their own. And the first thing you saw a did was test. The substance to determine exactly what it was the scientists who tested the sample identified the molecular structure of the substance and named it Tetra Hydro guest reknown or t h g a synthetic compounds similar to naturally produce human growth hormone however it would take several months and a barrage of labs for you. Sada to formulate a test that could identify T H G IN ATHLETES BLOOD OR URINE. But during that time several. Belco affiliated athletes began testing positive for other illegal steroids and on September third authorities raided the BELCO offices. What they discovered was an elaborate illegal doping program that extended to almost every major sport once they developed an effective testing method authorities analyzed old blood and urine samples from dozens of athletes affiliated with Falco not surprisingly T H G was found in nearly all of them. It didn't take long for the courts to charge conti and his associates for steroid distribution but their punishment was relatively minor only a few months in jail and a few more on house arrest as it turned out it was the athletes particularly Marion Jones. Who WOULD FACE THE HARSHEST PENALTIES? Jones received a six month prison sentence and two years of probation for lying to federal prosecutors. About her use of steroids she was also stripped of her gold medals and dropped by each and every one of her sponsors the fact that many of the Bowel Co affiliated athletes played baseball led to the publication of the Mitchell report which indicted dozens of ball players including mark mcgwire Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds for using T H G and other performance enhancing drugs the Mitchell. Report and Balbo Scandal. Were instrumental in creating stricter drug tests and harsher penalties in almost every sport but they also demonstrated that nearly every top athlete was guilty of using performance enhancing drugs some like Marion. Jones lost everything as a result others emerged relatively unscathed but for many players permanently tarnished their reputations and careers.