PtG Article 07.10.2005

Kelli White at Play the Game: Why I used doping and got involved in the BALCO affair

At Play the Game 2005 you will get a rare first-hand account from a top athlete on why she took performance enhancing drugs. The athlete is Kelli White, former World Champion sprinter, who was felled in the BALCO scandal and is now serving a two year ban from competition.

Kelli White began taking EPO, THG and other stimulants from the BALCO Laboratory in March 2003. She took the drugs for four months and was able to pass 17 drugs test both in and out of competition during that time with the help of Victor Conte, owner of BALCO.

The drugs programme turned Kelli White into the world's fastest woman and she won both the United States Championships and the World Championships for 100 m and 200 m that year.

Shortly after the World Championships in 2003, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies raided the BALCO Laboratory and Kelli White admitted to United States Anti-Doping Agency officials what she had done.

"I began using these substances not to give me an advantage but because I had become convinced I needed to use them to level the playing field with my competitors," Kelli White told a hearing in the US House Government Reform Committee earlier this year.

Kelly White was banned from competition for two years and lost all results from the previous four years of competition. She deeply regrets the choices she made, but also argues that athletes who take drugs are not necessarily bad people.

"In my own situation there were many factors contributing to the poor decision I made which include the influence of a longtime trusted coach," she told the hearing.

Kelli White is now working with United States Anti-Doping Agency and WADA to clean up sport from doping, and she will talk more about these efforts during the opening ceremony of Play the Game on Sunday 6 November.