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Drug Probe Eyes Olympic Hopefuls

Michelle Collins, left, reacts at the finish line after winning the women's 200 meters with a time of 22.84 at the USA Indoor Track and Field Championships, Sunday, March 2, 2003, in Boston. Kellie White, who finished third with a time of 23.21, is seen behind Collins
AP
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency plans to seek a lifetime ban against 100-meter world record holder Tim Montgomery for alleged drug violations, The Associated Press has learned.

Montgomery was notified Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the letter who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

USADA also notified Michelle Collins, the 2003 world indoor champion at 200 meters and potential medalist at this summer's Athens Games, that it will seek a lifetime ban against her, according to her lawyer.

Montgomery and Collins are among four sprinters who received USADA letters earlier this month informing them that they were being investigated for possible drug use.

Messages left for the attorneys representing the other two sprinters — Chryste Gaines and Alvin Harrison — were not returned Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear whether Montgomery would lose his world record of 9.78 seconds, set in September 2002 in Paris, if he is found guilty of doping. If so, the record would revert to Maurice Greene's 9.79, set in 1999 in Athens, Greece.

Montgomery is the boyfriend of three-time Olympic champion Marion Jones, and they have a nearly 1-year-old son. Collins is a former training partner of Jones, who is being investigated for possible doping by USADA but has not been formally notified she is the target of a probe.

Jones and Montgomery live near Raleigh, N.C.

Collins has never failed a doping test. But USADA has built its case against her and other athletes on evidence from the federal probe of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative.

Collins, Montgomery and Gaines responded to the June 7 USADA letter last week, and Harrison responded early this week. A USADA review panel met this week to recommend whether to formally initiate doping cases against the four athletes.

USADA officials couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.

Collins now has 10 days to decide whether to accept punishment, or appeal to an arbitration panel or the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.

BALCO is accused of being at the center of a steroid-distribution ring. Thousands of pages of material from the BALCO probe were given to USADA by a Senate committee last month in hopes of guaranteeing a drug-free United States Olympic team.

Jones, along with Montgomery and the other three athletes, testified last fall before the grand jury probing BALCO.