Former American track sprinter Tammy Thomas was found guilty of lying to a grand jury investigating the so-called BALCO scandal on Friday. Thomas was the first of several athletes to go on trial in connection to the illegal steroid ring operated by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO). Thomas was found guilty on three counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice, but was acquitted of two counts of perjury.
The case will have been closely watched by the legal teams of several better-known athletes, namely baseball star Barry Bonds, whose case closely parallels Thomas'. Other figures have already taken guilty pleas, including Olympian Marion Jones, BALCO founder Victor Conte and chemist Patrick Arnold, who allegedly supplied the drugs to Thomas.
Thomas denied under oath that she ever received drugs from Arnold and claimed that she had never used steroids. However, Arnold had testified to the contrary.
Thomas was banned for life from the sport of cycling in 2002 after testing positive for the steroid norbolethone. She had begun to rebuild her life in recent years, and had been in school to become a lawyer. Her conviction of the felony offense, however, will now prevent her from earning a license to practice law. Thomas, enraged at the verdict, lashed out at the jury after the trial and stormed out of the courtroom.