Local News

Former USOC President Weighs In On Steroid Scandal

Posted June 25, 2004 7:39 a.m. EDT

— The steroid scandal swirling around Olympic-level track and field is picking up speed.

WRAL spoke Friday with the former president of the United States Olympic Committee to get his take on the situation.

Dr. LeRoy Walker knows the sport of track and field. He has been coaching and advising athletes since the 50s -- he has had at least one athlete in every Olympics since Melbourne in 1956.

During that time, Walker has seen a lot of changes. He said he is not surprised some of the world's top runners are accused of doping.

"We've gone from the laurel-wreath concept where you are satisfied with just the laurel wreath or the victory, to now: 'How much am I going to get for this victory?'"

In the steroid scandal's latest development, The

San Francisco Chronicle

reported that Triangle resident Tim Montgomery told a grand jury he used banned substances. Montgomery faces a possible Olympic ban.

Montgomery's girlfriend, Marion Jones, also is under intense scrutiny.

Guilty or innocent, Walker said both lose.

"It's very distracting to the athletes trying to prepare for the biggest event of their careers," he said.

Triangle residents Michelle Collins and Alvin Harrison also are under investigation for possible steroid use.

Walker said steroids simply have become an easy answer.

"(They) may help," Walker said, "but not to the level where you should jeopardize your career."

With the Olympic Trials just weeks away, Walker said a shakeup in the track world could be just what the sport needs.

"If something happens to this group, and your station picks it up, or we in track and field and others pick it up -- it's going to get their attention," he said.