BALCO founder Victor Conte, the man behind the performance-enhancing drug “the clear” that tarnished Marion Jones’ career, arrived in London Friday morning. According to the NY Daily News, Conte is now training 22-year-old Olympic boxer Marlen Esparza and claims to be a changed man. So much so that he now calls himself an “anti-doping advocate”.
“I’m here to cheer for American athletes,” Conte said, “including Marlen Esparza. It’s really that simple. London is a wonderful city. And we expect to have a great time and a wonderful Olympic Games experience.”
Esparza, who fights Monday and is guaranteed a medal if she wins that fight, has put Conte on her list of friends and family who get special access to various functions and events in the Olympic Village.
Conte has also purchased ringside seats to her fights, but he worries that Olympic officials will cause trouble for him, even though he is not banned from competitions or from working with Olympic athletes and is attending as a spectator.
“I hope I’m not viewed as the big bad wolf with his Little Red Riding Hood boxer,” Conte jokes, fully aware that the USOC and the IOC might not see the humor.
“I feel an obligation and a responsbility to tell the truth,” Conte says. “When (officials) say they have the best testing in the world, I point out that they might not. And I hope they’re starting to listen.”