Victor Conte responds to Tim Montgomery's sentencing
The sentencing of former U.S. Olympic sprinter Tim Montgomery in a heroin possession/distribution case Friday in Norfolk, Va., marks another disastrous fall from grace for a former client of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO).
Montgomery's five-year prison sentence will be served upon conclusion of the 46-month sentence he's serving for a check-kiting scheme that involved his former partner and Olympic champion Marion Jones. Jones' own prison sentence for lying to investigators ended earlier this year. Before beginning that sentence, she held a news conference and admitted to steroid use. She also surrendered the Olympic medals she won in 2000.
BALCO founder Victor Conte, who has also served prison time for his role as a performance-enhancing supplier to elite athletes like Montgomery and Jones, has long made it known he despised the former couple.
Friday was not the day for "vindication," Conte told The Times. "I see the sadness of this. This is about more than someone getting the consequences of what they deserved. I've asked the question often: How can we get beyond this scandal and get to forgiveness?"
The likely answer: Not very soon.
Conte's planning a February release of his BALCO book, coinciding with next year's perjury trial of former BALCO associate and baseball's all-time home run king Barry Bonds. Conte, who acknowledges providing steroids in the past to Bonds' former trainer Greg Anderson, has said the book will include "new" information about Bonds.
Until then, Conte said Friday brought "the most serious consequence of anyone associated with BALCO," closing a disastrous plunge for Montgomery from the day in September 2002 when he became the world's fastest man by running 100 meters in 9.78 seconds.
"He was lifted upward, shirtless, and was on top of the world," Conte said. "He went from there to getting a non-positive [drug result], to the check fraud case to heroin. His world spiraled out of control."
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery during happier times in 2002. Credit: Vincent Yu/Associated Press