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Thursday, May 26, 2005
Banned sprinter offers her example to officials

Associated Press

OSLO, Norway -- Banned U.S. sprinter Kelli White said other athletes should learn from her mistakes and urged sports officials to keep pace with suppliers of illegal drugs.

White tested positive for performance-enhancing modafinil at the 2003 World Championships in Paris and was stripped of her gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters.

"I regret my decision," White said Thursday at an anti-doping symposium. "I believe I can be made an example of what not to do."

The 28-year-old sprinter said she had also used banned blood-doping, steroids and testosterone to enhance her performance, without getting caught in drug tests.

"I was able to pass 17 drug tests in 12 months," said White, whose ban ends in May 2006.

White was attending a two-day symposium at which sports federations and the World Anti-Doping Agency will discuss more effective planning of doping tests. It was organized by the group Anti-Doping Norway.

Rune Andersen, WADA's director of standards and harmonization, said they aim to step up testing at the World Champions in Helsinki, Finland, in August.

"We want more effective testing in Helsinki," he said, appearing at a news conference with White. "This forum here will tell us what needs to change."

White initially claimed the drug she tested positive for in Paris was needed medicine. She finally broke down and admitted the abuse.

"There is only so long you can lie," White said. "I don't feel I'm a victim at all. I made the decision. ... I'm happy that the secrets and the lies are out there on the table."

White said she believes athletes, including herself, tend to deny cheating in the face of medical evidence rather than expose the people behind the drugs.

"They are very powerful people," she said.

White said she started using banned substance on the advice of her coach, Remi Korchemny, who she said introduced her to Bay Area Lab Co-Operative president Victor Conte.

The lab, also known as BALCO, was at the center of a steroid scandal, and has been linked to many prominent athletes, including another former world champion, Marion Jones.

Korchemny, Conte and two others have pleaded not guilty to charges of distributing steroids to top athletes, with a trial set for September.

White said she at first was not told about the banned substances, and stopped using them when she found out in 2000. However, the sprinter said she decided to resume doping in 2003 in hopes of boosting her chances on the track.

White also said she kept the doping secret from those she knew would tell her to stop.

White urged the group to step up testing, and make sure the word gets out about cheaters or else, "it's like nothing is happening out there."

She also said drug testers need to get the jump on drug makers, who seem to always find new ways to cheat.