PtG Article 06.11.2005

Kelli White is set for a clean future

Former World Champion sprinter, Kelli White, feels that it is possible to top global track and field without relying on drugs, and some recent performances makes her believe that things in the sport are getting better since she was banned for two years for testing positive.

Answering delegates' questions after her brief, no-frills speech on the inaugural day of Play the Game’s conference, the former world champion in 100m and 200m races now serving out a two-year expulsion in the wake of the BALCO disclosures, said that the fight against doping in sport was hard because athletes were scared of the providers, who are extremely powerful, and drug-detectors always found themselves outrun by drug-makers.

Dressed in black, the spry athlete from the US made it clear that “it's bad to be looked at as a bad person” and that “it's unfair the way they put us out of the sport while those responsible for landing us in trouble get only short prison terms.” 

White acknowledged that it had been a year's injury-related poor showings in 2002 that redirected her to Mr Victor Conte, the owner of BALCO who previously gave her illegal stimulants.

”I knew what I was doing,” she said explaining her action whilst answering a delegate's question, “but he'd made champions and that implied his methods worked.”

Her admission of the performance-enhancing drugs Dr Conte had subsequently given her was clearly phrased and categorically stated.

She said that the Paris World Championships - the high point of her life - had come to be shot through with a very deep sense of disappointment coupled with a feeling of guilt and that was not just because that was when she tested positive for the first time.

She knew she had started out promisingly and honestly but her success was now undermined by the dubious method of achieving it.

The one-time fastest woman of the world was unambiguous in her assertion that she had not done it for money or vanity and that it was wrong to think that drugs alone could make a champion of an ordinary athlete.

“Dope-users,” she said “are people who've made bad mistakes” and, anticipating being reinstated next year, she let it be known that she wanted to do well again – in a fair way.  

Kelly White spoke frankly about her use of performance enhancing drugs at Play the Game


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