BALCO scandal - Wikipedia. The BALCO scandal was a scandal involving the use of banned, performance- enhancing substances by professional athletes. The Bay Area Laboratory Co- operative (BALCO) was a San Francisco Bay Area business which supplied anabolic steroids to professional athletes. The incident surrounds a 2. US Federal government investigation of the laboratory.
Initially a business venture to keep food on the table, only one year after opening, Victor Conte closed Millbrae Holistic and started BALCO as a sport supplement company in neighboring Burlingame. Investing in an ICP spectrometer, Conte used his knowledge of nutrition, largely self- taught, to devise a system of testing athletes for mineral deficiencies in order to maintain a perfect balance of minerals in the body. Through regular urine and blood testing, Conte would monitor and treat mineral shortages in athletes, supposedly elevating their level of physical wellness dramatically. Surviving his divorce from Aubry and several years of financial hardships, BALCO did not achieve professional success until the summer of 1. NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski to its client list. From there Conte began acquiring additional high- profile athletes with his special concoction of undetectable drugs, manufactured by rogue Illinois chemist Patrick Arnold and distributed by personal trainer Greg Anderson.
Five different types of drugs along with mineral supplements were used to achieve optimum results. Types of drugs include erythropoietin, human growth hormone, modafinil, testosterone cream, and tetrahydrogestrinone.
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Erythropoietin or EPO is a hormone naturally produced by the kidneys that stimulates erythropoiesis. Originally used to treat anemia, when artificially introduced to the body EPO stimulates an increased production of red blood cells enhancing the body's ability to transport oxygen. Human growth hormone is secreted by the anterior pituitary and is generally anabolic. In theory, this hormone builds muscle mass although some studies suggest it has no effect on building muscle mass to a degree that would benefit athletes. Modafinil is a mild stimulant designed to be taken right before competition in order to sharpen an athlete. Legally marketed as a treatment for narcolepsy and sleep disorders, modafinil is not regarded as a high risk drug by athletic governing bodies but is still banned from competition. Testosterone Cream or .
Though less effective than testosterone injections, . Tetrahydrogestrinone, THG, or .
THG was the main steroid distributed by BALCO with the other products more of a regimen to heighten its effects according to an individual athlete's body. Parallel with this investigation, the USADA began its own covert investigation of Conte and his operation. In the summer of 2. USADA investigators received a syringe with trace amounts of a mysterious substance.
The anonymous tipster was Trevor Graham, sprint coach to Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery. The syringe went to Don Catlin, MD, the founder and then- director of the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, who had developed a testing process for the substance, tetrahydrogestrinone (THG).
Jason Giambi first became connected with BALCO after inquiring with Greg Anderson about Barry Bonds' training regimen. The much publicized leak of court documents which were said to contain this admission led to a tarnishing of Giambi's career, yet because he never actually failed a drug test, Giambi has, thus far, avoided punishment from Major League Baseball. Giambi subsequently made a few apologies to the media, the most direct of which may have come on May 1. USA Today, . Critics of Bonds pointed to his large increase in size late in his career, as well as his improvement primarily in his power numbers, despite his age. Bonds's trainer, Greg Anderson, was sentenced to jail time after refusing to testify against Bonds before a grand jury investigating the slugger for perjury. Mark Fainaru- Wada and Lance Williams, reporters for the San Francisco Chronicle, profiled Bonds' alleged use of performance- enhancing substances in their 2.
Game of Shadows. The reporters used Bonds' testimony in front of a grand jury, and refused to reveal their source for the court documents. Bonds, like Giambi, has never been punished by the MLB in any way because he has not yet failed any drug test.
The trial began on March 2. Jones attended the University of North Carolina on a basketball scholarship, but eventually shifted her focus solely to track.
It was there she met shot- putter and then UNC coach C. J. Hunter, whom she married in 1. A former world champion, Hunter, also involved with BALCO, was caught using performance- enhancing drugs and disgraced. The publicity surrounding this led many to believe Jones herself used such drugs as well, an accusation she vehemently denied over and over again. Jones then began a relationship with American sprinter Tim Montgomery, leading to the birth of a son. Montgomery himself benefited from the banned substances he received from BALCO (in fact he, as well as both Jones and Hunter, can still be seen posing with Conte in photos on his SNAC website. After news of Montgomery's cheating broke, Jones was again faced with increased doubt as to the integrity of her career, yet she continued to deny any wrongdoing.
Finally, in October 2. Jones admitted to lying to federal agents about her use of performance- enhancing drugs, though she still maintains she believed the substances she was using were flaxseed oil, not steroids, at the time.
Jones has handed over the five Olympic medals she earned in Sydney and officially retired from the sport. Bill Romanowski. The 1. NFL veteran openly advertised Conte's zinc supplement ZMA.
In the words of Romanowski, . The guys are telling me they sleep better and feel better! Romanowski has also been accused of using other performance enhancing drugs, such as Human growth hormone, a drug banned by the federal government. The San Francisco Chronicle, and more specifically Chronicle journalists Mark Fainaru- Wada and Lance Williams, have played a prominent role in covering the story; ultimately collaborating in Game of Shadows, a book chronicling the BALCO scandal. Fainaru- Wada and Williams broke the story concerning U. S. That syringe was the catalyst for the entire investigation of Conte. These journalists also wrote the story about C.
J. Hunter said that at times, he injected the drugs into Jones himself. He also admitted to taking steroids, and said that he had obtained them through Conte. The duo. Anderson also revealed the names of numerous Olympic athletes that had been provided with . Publicly, most of the attention the book received was due to the incriminating evidence of Barry Bond. He was aspiring musician (and hippie, and alleged drug dealer), but those dreams were quickly dashed. So, undaunted, he decided to open his own health clinic.
That idea crashed as well, but the third time was a charm for Conte. He decided that he wanted to become a nutritionist and help star athletes to reach their physical potential. Despite not having a background in chemistry, Conte quickly gained respect among athletes and nutrition buffs. Fainaru- Wada and Williams then delve into the many different schemes by which the drugs were distributed to these high profile athletes. Trips to Mexico, suspicious address names, and steroids disguised as flaxseed oil were a few among many ways in which the drugs got to the athletes. From there, the book goes on to name the many athletes who received the drugs, and the writers go into great detail describing their thoughts on Barry Bonds. They believed that Bonds was a superior athlete, but was jealous of all the attention that Mark Mc.
Gwire received in his record- breaking season of 1. Bonds was jealous, they hypothesized, because Mc. Gwire was a suspected . As a result of the BALCO bust, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig instituted a written, league- wide policy.
The first time a player tests positive for steroids, he is subject to a 5. For the second offense, the penalty is a 1. Finally, if a third offense occurs, the player is given a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball. This policy compares favorably with the NFL.
A first offense in the NFL gets a minimum 4 game suspension (1/4 of a regular season). A second offense gets a minimum of 8 games, and a third gets a suspension of at least one calendar year. All of these penalties are without pay.
BALCO today. Patrick Arnold and Greg Anderson each served a three- month jail sentence after pleading guilty with Anderson serving an additional three- month house arrest sentence. Recently Anderson was incarcerated again after being found in contempt of court for refusing to testify about Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield. Davidson, Keay (2. The San Francisco Chronicle. The San Francisco Chronicle.
The San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2. April 2. 01. 1. Archived from the original on 2. April 2. 01. 1. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 1. 8 August 2.