Victor Conte

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Victor Conte (born c.1950) in Fresno, California and graduated from C.L. McLane High School[1] is a former musician with Tower of Power and the founder and president of BALCO, a sports nutrition center in California. He served time in prison in 2005 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute steroids and money laundering.

Tower of Power[edit]

In the 1970s, Conte played bass guitar in the group Common Ground with cousin Bruce (later of Tower of Power fame) on electric guitar.[2] Victor Conte was a member of Tower of Power for a time later in the 1970s, playing bass guitar, and also collaborated during that period with pianist Herbie Hancock and violinist Sugarcane Harris. At the time he had the nickname "Walking Fish" from his days playing with the Pure Food & Drug Act.


He later founded the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative or BALCO, a sports nutrition center in Burlingame, California, which the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) says developed the banned steroid tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) with the help of bodybuilding chemist Patrick Arnold. Pursuant to a plea bargain struck with prosecutors, he entered guilty pleas in July 2005 to one count of conspiracy to distribute steroids and a second count of laundering a portion of a check, he was sentenced in October to spend four months in the federal Taft Correctional Institution in Taft, California, and another four on house arrest.

In December 2004, he participated in an interview with Martin Bashir on ABC's 20/20 program, where he admitted to running doping programs, which have broken Olympic records, as well as revealing that: "The whole history of the games is just full of corruption, cover-up, performance-enhancing drug use." [3]

In the interview he implicated, among others, five-time Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones and her partner Tim Montgomery, Kelli White (who later admitted using performance-enhancing drugs), British athlete Dwain Chambers, and NFL player Bill Romanowski.

On 21 December 2006, Yahoo Sports reported that one of Conte's initial defense lawyers, Troy Ellerman, had been targeted by the FBI as a possible source of leaks to the media during the Barry Bonds probe.[4] On February 14, 2007, Ellerman pleaded guilty to leaking grand jury testimony.

It was also reported that FBI agents were an additional source of leaks.

In May 2007, Conte claimed to again be providing supplements for British Athlete, turned NFL Europa player for the Hamburg Sea Devils, Dwain Chambers. According to Conte, these nutritional supplements, provided via his company Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning, are perfectly legal.[5]

On December 13, 2007 Conte appeared on CNN before the Mitchell report was officially released.[6]

In 2009, in the aftermath of the investigation, Conte's book BALCO: The Straight Dope on Barry Bonds, Marion and What We Can Do to Save Sports was intended to be co-written with author Nathan Jendrick, and was not published.[7] The book was never published at all.

Conte is currently working with Zab Judah,[8] and Andre Berto. After prison, he has researched and developed legal-to-use sports supplements.


  1. ^ Fordyce, Tom (2003-10-23). "2003 biography by BBC Sport". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  2. ^ "Strokeland Superband - Bruce Conte". Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  3. ^ Harris, Paul (2004-12-05). "How drugs shattered America's Olympic dreams". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  4. ^ "BALCO leaks exposed - Yahoo! Sports". Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  5. ^ "Chambers to have extra dope tests". BBC News. 2007-05-30. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  6. ^ "Victor Conte on CNN before Mitchell Report release". CNN. 13 December 2007. 
  7. ^ Conte, Victor; Nathan Jendrick (2009-02-01). BALCO: The Straight Dope on Steroids, Barry Bonds, Marion Jones, and What We Can Do to Save Sports. Skyhorse Publishing Company, Incorporated. ISBN 9781602392953. 
  8. ^ "Video: Victor Conte Talks Judah Machine, Ariza Subplot - Boxing News". 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 

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