Michelle Collins, BALCO involved, Olympic sprinter is working her way back to the track. At 36, it's a long way back, however she appears hopeful. Exclusive story here via AP and US Today.
Recently the track and field stories are sprinting out of the blocks. We carried the Victor Conte Interviews with the London Tims (TimesOnLine.com) here and here-part 2. Edwin Moses blasted doping over the weekend in answer to the Conte interviews.
"It was all about winning," the 2000 Olympian said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I wasn't thinking clearly at that time."
Even when she submitted - allowing her titles in the 200 meters from the 2003 indoor worlds and U.S. championships to be stripped and accepting a four-year ban - she didn't do it willingly.
"She was a cold, rigid, angry person who you could see was clearly using these drugs from both a physical and a temperament standpoint," said Travis Tygart, who helped prosecute the case for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
Since that reluctant surrender exactly two years ago this weekend - May 19, 2005 - Collins has changed.
Quite a cast of characters, Collins kept years ago. Troubled coach Trevor Graham. BALCO-involved sprinters like Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery. The road to perdition. Now she is on the road to back.
"I wanted to clear my conscience," she said. "I felt like it was time to come forward and be free of this."
Collins is working with USADA and others in the anti-doping movement, providing information about other coaches and athletes and speaking to children about the harm that performance-enhancing drugs can do. The goal is a lofty one - eliminating doping.
For her help, USADA is recommending a year be taken off the ban so the 36-year-old sprinter might be eligible for a comeback in time for the Beijing Olympics.
"Right now, I train as if I'm training for the Olympic trials and the Olympic Games," said Collins, who lives near Dallas and got her license as a massage therapist while she was out of the sport. "If it happens, great. If not, no big deal. But I am training."
Collins, like Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery and Justin Gatlin, was a disciple of Trevor Graham, the track coach who pushed Montgomery to becoming the world's fastest man. Since those heady days, Montgomery and Gatlin also have been banned for doping violations.
Collins never tested positive for PEDs, yet was given a suspension by an arbitration board. However, she later admitted she used at least THG and EPO.
"I did know it was wrong," she said. "I was encouraged by my coach to do that, but I knew it was wrong. I had a mind set where I really did believe that was the only way I was going to make it. I was told all my other competitors were doing it. I thought it was my only ticket."