White also tricked by flaxseed oil

Posted: Tuesday, December 07, 2004

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sprinter Kelli White thought she was taking flaxseed oil when the former world champion first started using banned substances provided by Victor Conte.

''He gave me vitamins and protein shakes and things that I was told were flaxseed oil,'' White told ABC News ''Nightline,'' in an interview broadcast Monday night.

White, who won two gold medals at the 2003 world championships, previously said she had only taken the prescription stimulant modafinil because she suffered from a sleep disorder.

But she later admitted to taking illegal performance-enhancing drugs in May, and accepted a two-year drug ban that cost her a trip to the Athens Olympics and every medal she'd won the past four years.

San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds reportedly testified to a grand jury that he thought he was using flaxseed oil, when he actually was unknowingly taking steroids.

White told ''Nightline'' that she found out she was misled two weeks after hooking up with Conte.

''He called me up and said 'I'm sorry that we lied to you. And what we gave you was not actually flaxseed oil. It's something else,''' White said. ''It was what is now known as THG.''

Conte was indicted in February by the grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, which he led. Conte, BALCO vice president James Valente, Bonds' personal trainer Greg Anderson and track coach Remi Korchemny all have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Bonds testified to a grand jury that he used a clear substance and a cream given to him by Anderson but said he didn't know they were steroids, the San Francisco Chronicle reported last week.

Bonds told the federal grand jury last year that Anderson told him the substances he used in 2003 were the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a rubbing balm for arthritis, according to a transcript of his testimony reviewed by the Chronicle.

White said she met Conte in December 2000 through her coach, and that she wanted to get supplements that would help with deficiencies in Vitamins E and B.

''I felt very betrayed,'' White told ABC. ''I put my trust in certain people and when they lie to you, it's devastating.''

She stopped using the substances and decided to rely on her talent, instead. As time went on, she felt that wasn't enough. So, in March 2003, White reconnected with Conte.

''I was having a hard year the previous year and I just felt like I needed help to get me back into the place where I was,'' White said on ''Nightline.''

''A lot of injuries, and that was frustrating, and so I didn't want to repeat that cycle again.''

White also was frustrated that she felt she couldn't compete with other athletes because it wasn't a level playing field due to what she believed was rampant drug use.

''As the years went on, I was led to believe that it was the only thing that could be done, that it had to be done, and that everyone was doing it,'' White told ABC. ''And when you hear that from people that you trust, you start to believe that. I really did not want to believe that it was necessary to take drugs."

''The physical stress and strains that we do to our bodies is not possible to do over and over and over. It just really is not humanly possible. You need help.''

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