The indictments of four men on charges of running a ring that provided performance-enhancing steroids to professional athletes hold major ramifications for professional sports leagues and governing bodies that are still trying to police their own sports, reports the Washington Post. “It’s a little early to know whether this is going to be like Ben Johnson in Canada,” said Richard Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, referring to the Olympic champion sprinter whose disqualification for steroids use at the 1988 Seoul Olympics was seen as a national disgrace, “but Barry Bonds is a major hero in the American national sport.”
In announcing the indictments — Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) founder Victor Conte Jr., BALCO vice president James J. Valente; personal trainer Greg F. Anderson; and track coach Remi Korchemny — Attorney General John Ashcroft warned that other charges could come soon. “This is potentially explosive for baseball, and perhaps football and track,” said Charles Yesalis, a professor at Penn State and a leading expert on steroids. “You don’t know who they might go after . . . but there is still potential at this stage for some big names to be implicated.”
Conte was Bonds’s nutritional guru, and Anderson his personal strength coach. Korchemny has coached sprinters Kelli White, Dwain Chambers and Chryste Gaines; all flunked drug tests in 2003.
Bonds, the San Francisco Giants slugger who has credited much of his late-career renaissance to Conte’s nutritional advice and Anderson’s workout regime, has been a BALCO client since 2001, the year he broke baseball’s single-season home run record with 73.
Anderson, Bonds’s boyhood friend, has been working with Bonds for several years. The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that when authorities raided Anderson’s condominium, they discovered steroids and documents containing the names of athletes and what appeared to be schedules for taking the drugs. “Common sense tells you that if they’ve got Bonds’ personal trainer,” one baseball source said, “they’re only one step away from having Bonds.” Bonds has denied using steroids, and there is no indication he will be charged.
The indictments came three days after the grand jury issued subpoenas for baseball’s confidential 2003 drug testing results — a move that could be a precursor to a perjury investigation.