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Torrence apologizes in writing for accusations of drug use


BARCELONA, Spain -- Yesterday, it was Gwen Torrence, the apology.

By prepared statement.

After accusing other sprinters of drug use and engaging in a crude and often bizarre Geraldo-style news conference after her 200-meter win Thursday, Torrence sought to soften her stance and offer an apology.

"I am deeply committed to the need to get rid of drugs in sports, as well as use by American kids on the street," Torrence wrote. "But my passion for that effort caused me to speak out with a strong opinion here about drug abuse in sport which has been misinterpreted by some. I have not accused specific athletes of cheating, but my personal opinions have come across perhaps too strongly."

Torrence ignited the controversy after losing in the 100 final last Saturday, and accusing others of using performance-enhancing drugs.

The dispute reached a crescendo when Juliet Cuthbert of Jamaica, a double silver medalist, revealed that Torrence told her that 100 gold medalist Gail Devers of the United States and bronze medalist Irina Privalova of the Unified Team used steroids.

"You will hear no more opinions from me in Barcelona about other athletes competing unfairly," Torrence wrote. "I will battle drugs in my own way for the rest of my career.

"I am sorry that any of my opinions expressed here have brought harm to anyone, especially great athletes and my teammates in particular."

Torrence also wrote that some of her statements "may have been in bad taste and against the rules of my delegation and the USOC."

Track and field's world governing body has demanded an investigation on her accusation from the U.S. Olympic Committee. Torrence could be suspended if found to have damaged the sport by her statements.

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