December 10, 2004
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced Friday the decision by an independent three-member arbitration panel from the American Arbitration Association and North American Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that Michelle Collins of Raleigh, N.C., an athlete in the sport of track and field, has committed a doping violation based on her participation in the BALCO drug conspiracy.
Following a full evidentiary hearing, the CAS Panel found that “USADA has proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Collins took EPO, the testosterone/epitestosterone cream, and THG, and that Collins used these substances to enhance her performance and elude the drug testing that was available at the time.” This is the first non-analytical positive case decided by a CAS Panel involving athletes associated with the BALCO drug conspiracy.
The CAS Panel issued Collins, 33, an eight-year suspension which takes effect today, the date of the decision. Additionally, Collins forfeits all competitive results and winnings since February 1, 2002, the beginning of her violation, including her 200m World Indoor and USA Indoor Championships in 2003.
The CAS Panel found that Collins’ “participation in the BALCO conspiracy amounted to a cover up … and because her doping took place over an extended period … it is appropriate to double the four years received by other BALCO athletes … and to suspend her for eight years.”
“For the last year and a half, USADA has been committed to uncovering the truth regarding athletes and others who participated in the BALCO drug conspiracy,” said USADA Chief Executive Officer Terry Madden. “The CAS Panel’s decision confirms that those who violate the rules will be sanctioned as part of USADA’s ongoing efforts to protect the rights of the overwhelming majority of U.S. athletes that compete drug-free.”
To date, 13 athletes have received sanctions for violations involving drugs associated with the BALCO doping conspiracy.
USADA is responsible for managing the testing and adjudication process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement. USADA’s stated objective is to preserve the integrity of sport and protect the health of athletes through testing, results management, research and education programs.