A big bust
Hunter tested positive after meet in JulyPosted: Sunday September 24, 2000 12:00 AM
SYDNEY, Australia (CNNSI.com) -- American C.J. Hunter, the world shot put champion, tested positive for the banned substance nandrolone, international track officials said Monday.
Istvan Gyulai, general secretary of the International Amateur Athletics Federation, confirmed that Hunter, the husband of American sprinter Marion Jones, flunked a drug test but would not say when or where the test was conducted.
However, earlier Monday IOC drug chief Prince Alexandre de Merode said an athlete tested positive for nandrolone at the Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway, in late July. De Merode did not specifically name Hunter.
Hunter is not competing in Sydney, but is credentialed as a coach for his wife, who won the 100 meters on Saturday and is trying to win an unprecedented five gold medals. Jones' next race is the 200 on Wednesday.
Hunter placed second at the U.S. trials in June, then finished second in the Bislett Games on July 28. But he withdrew from the U.S. team Sept. 11, eight days after arthroscopic knee surgery in North Carolina.
"I know what's going on and I am aware of the allegations and am going to defend myself vigorously," Hunter told NBC on Monday.
Gyulai said that if Hunter is found guilty of abusing steroids, he would face a two-year suspension.
Craig Masback, head of USA Track and Field, confirmed that the IAAF has referred an "eligibility matter involving an American athlete" to the federation. He refused to confirm or deny that the athlete was Hunter, citing the organization's confidentiality rules.
Masback insisted he had "no idea about any facts" regarding Hunter's case. "I don't know anything," Masback said.
Nandrolone helps athletes gain strength and muscle bulk by repairing the damage of high-level training and competition. It has been involved in hundreds of recent doping cases.
The 330-pound (200-kilogram) Hunter had been among the favorites for a shot put gold medal in Sydney before his injury. Ranked No. 1 in the world last year after winning the world championship with a throw of 21.79 meters (71 feet, 6 inches), Hunter also was the bronze medalist at the 1997 wold championships. He is a three-time U.S. champion and the 1995 world indoor silver medalist. He finished seventh at the 1996 Olympics.
There have been no reports linking Jones to use of banned performance enhancers.
"This is an individual matter," said Francois Carrard, IOC director general, adding that Jones is not under suspicion.
"If she does not test positive, we should not infer [guilt] from one individual to another," he said.
De Merode accused U.S. track and field officials of covering up five positive drug tests before the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He said he didn't recall the names of the athletes, but that some may have won medals during the games.
In response, the U.S. Olympic Committee said the cases were publicized 12 years ago and the athletes involved were cleared because they used the drug, ephedrine, accidentally.
Arne Ljungqvist, the IAAF's anti-doping chief, said last week that USA Track and Field had failed to disclose 12-15 positive drug cases in the past two years.
"The athletes feel that the IAAF and USA Track and Field are covering up and have special rules for American athletes," said Johann Olav Koss, the Norwegian speedskating gold medalist who is now an IOC member.
"I regret Johann would say that," Masback said. "It is a matter of fact and a matter of record that USA Track and Field tested out of competition before any other sport and any other country. We've tested more people for more substances over a longer period of time. And, unfortunately, we've busted more people than any other sport.
"Are we doing it perfectly? No, we're not. But we have set the standard for the rest of the sports world. ... I am far from being defensive about what we are doing. I am extremely proud of what we've done. We've been the leader in the world on this matter. We've paid a price for being the leader."
Masback, who has been in charge of American track for three years, defended its record and its procedures.
"We have continued to do in-competition and out-of-competition testing in a very vigorous and expensive fashion," he said. "We've exonerated some athletes, and we've convicted some athletes.
"USA Track and Field and the IAAF have nothing to hide or be ashamed of."
Gyulai said he was sad that the reports on Hunter were coming now.
"I regret that this news is breaking when Marion Jones is running," he said. "It's terrible whether it's true or not. It has nothing to do with the Olympics. ... If it's not true, it would seem there are efforts to smear the wonderful days here."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.