Sprinter banned for eight years

DENVER – American sprinter Michelle Collins was suspended for eight years and must forfeit her 2003 world 200-meter indoor title for a doping violation linked to the the San Francisco laboratory that has the International Olympic Committee investigating Marion Jones.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Friday that a three-member panel of the American Arbitration Association concluded Collins, 33, used various performance-enhancing substances that allegedly were provided by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative. Though Collins never tested positive for banned substances, the appeals panel concluded she used the prohibited substances for several years.

‘She engaged in a pattern of doping involving multiple drugs over a substantial period of time, during which she engaged and succeeded in many competitions,’ the ruling said. ‘The steroids she took, such as THG, and the complex and coordinated timing of her doping were designed, even more than the usual doping offenses, not to be detected.’

USADA based its case on patterns observed from blood and urine tests Collins had in recent years, along with documents seized from BALCO by federal prosecutors and statements made by BALCO officials. On Tuesday, the IOC opened investigating Jones, a three-time winner at the Sydney Olympics, for doping offenses connected with BALCO.

BALCO owner Victor Conte told a U.S. television news magazine show last week that he gave Jones performance-enhancing substances before and after the Sydney Olympics. He said he watched Jones inject herself with human growth hormone. Among the documents reviewed in Collins’ arbitration were e-mails Collins sent to Conte, including one in which she asked whether she could use a testosterone gel with a cream she already had.

‘Do not use the testosterone gel,’ Conte responded. ‘It will cause a positive result by elevating the (testosterone/epitestosterone) ratio. … You are already getting what you need from the cream, which will not elevate the ratio and you know why.’

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