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Conte says he gave steroids to M. Jones, other sprinters


Calling the Olympics a fraud, Victor Conte, founder of the laboratory at the center of a federal investigation into illegal steroid distribution, acknowledged in a television interview he gave drugs to elite track and field sprinters Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery and Kelli White.

"It's almost like what I'm here to tell you right now is that not only is there no Santa Claus, but there's no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy, either, in the world of sport," Conte, who founded the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative in Burlingame, Calif., told ABC News' 20/20 in an interview to be aired tonight.

"I mean, the whole history of the Olympic Games is just full of corruption, cover-up, performance-enhancing drug use - it's not what the world thinks it is."

He added: "I know that the rules - the anti-doping rules that are in place - are so easy for the athletes to beat it's like taking candy from a baby."

Conte is one of four men under indictment by a San Francisco grand jury for charges that include steroid distribution. They have pleaded not guilty.

Numerous athletes, including Jones, Montgomery and baseball players Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield, testified under a promise of limited immunity before the grand jury. A transcript of Giambi's testimony was reported yesterday by the San Francisco Chronicle.

But in excerpts of the interview released to media outlets yesterday by ABC, Conte's focus was on the track and field athletes, Jones in particular.

He said he began supplying her with banned performance-enhancing drugs, including steroids and human growth hormone, weeks before the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, where she would win five medals, three of them gold.

He said he continued to supervise her drug program for a year after the Olympics and described how he instructed her to inject herself with human growth hormone.

"In the leg," he said. "... Marion didn't like to inject in the stomach ... area ... she would do it in her quad - the front part of the leg."

She was tested many times in the 13 months he worked with her, he said, but escaped detection because of the inadequacy of the tests.

Jones, who has denied she has ever used banned drugs, competed in the 2004 Olympics but did not win a medal.

Montgomery, the world record-holder in the 100 meters, did not qualify for the U.S. team in Athens. He faces a lifetime ban for alleged steroid use. White, whose gold medals in the 100 and 200 at the 2003 world championships were forfeited after she tested positive for a stimulant, admitted in May to using drugs and accepted a two-year suspension.

White was interviewed by ABC, saying she justified her drug use because she "felt that there are so many people doing it that I would just be like one of the others."

"I have no bone to pick with Marion," Conte said. "I'm here today because I believe that the world needs to hear the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so that we can really attempt collectively to try to genuinely create a level playing field for the athletes of the future."

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