Tim Montgomery, the world’s fastest man, told the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency he’s done nothing wrong and ridiculed possible drug evidence against him.
“The truth will prevail,” he said.
His lawyer said Montgomery will continue to fight for the chance “to fulfill his dreams and participate in the 2004 Olympics.”
Montgomery, record holder in the 100 meters, is one of four U.S. athletes formally notified on June7 that the USADA is pursuing possible drug charges against them.
After his sixth-place finish in the 100 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., Montgomery accused the USADA of “making up rules.”
Montgomery and the other three — Chryste Gaines, Michelle Collins and Alvin Harrison — had until Friday to respond to the USADA’s formal notice. Now, a USADA review panel will decide — perhaps by early this week — whether to recommend bringing drug charges against them.
If they are found guilty of doping, they would face minimum bans of two years.
Harrison’s attorney, Ed Williams, said yesterday his client only received the formal notice from the USADA on Tuesday and did not respond by the deadline. Attorneys for Gaines and Collins could not be reached.
Montgomery’s girlfriend, three-time Olympic champion Marion Jones, also is under investigation by the USADA but has not received a formal letter that the agency is pursuing a case against her.
None of those athletes failed a drug test, so the USADA is building cases based on documents and other circumstantial evidence deriving from the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative case. Documents from the grand jury investigation of BALCO were subpoenaed by a Senate committee and then turned over to the USADA.
Montgomery’s attorney, Cristina Arguedas, said almost all of the USADA’s accusations about Montgomery come from the files of Victor Conte — the founder of BALCO, and one of four men who have pleaded not guilty to distributing steroids to top athletes.
Arguedas said in a statement that Montgomery and Conte had a “bitter falling out” around the same time that most of those documents were created, making the documents “suspect and unreliable on their face.” The statement also claims the documents are “riddled with errors, inconsistencies and discrepancies.”
Arguedas said one of the e-mails in the USADA’s files, dated July 2002, quotes Conte as saying: “It is time for Tim to start to cry like a baby … He could have had the world record and been making a ton of money.”
Two months later, Montgomery did set the world record of 9.78 seconds at a meet in Paris.
“They act like I broke the world record with Conte,” Montgomery said of USADA, then he mentioned the e-mail. “That lets you know I wasn’t listening to him.”
Arguedas’ statement attacks the USADA’s evidence and says it is unfair of the anti-doping agency to rely on testimony from unidentified witnesses without giving Montgomery a chance to respond directly to their accusations.
“Tim Montgomery has done nothing wrong, and we intend to vigorously fight any attempt by USADA or any other sports organization to deny him the opportunity to fulfill his dreams and participate in the 2004 Olympics,” Arguedas said.
Montgomery echoed his attorney’s feelings yesterday.
“How can you have a testimony about someone when you’re not swearing under oath,” the sprinter said. “It’s crazy.”
USADA spokesman Rich Wanninger said the anti-doping agency does not comment on the substance of ongoing investigations, but rejected Arguedas’ accusations that the USADA was being unfair in its investigation.
“Any suggestion that the USADA process compromises any athletes’ rights or is unfair is a blatant distortion of the truth,” Wanninger said. “No athlete who has not engaged in doping behavior has any reason to fear, or otherwise avoid, the USADA process.”