American sprinter Michelle Collins was reinstated Wednesday by track and field's governing body, the IAAF, after serving three-plus years of a BALCO-related suspension.
Her ban for using performance-enhancing drugs was to expire in July, but it was reduced because Collins cooperated with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and federal investigators. The 37-year-old Collins is eligible to try to qualify for the U.S. Olympic trials, which start next month.
"All I want to do now is return to the sport I love," Collins said in a statement released by the Valparaiso Sports Law Clinic, which represented her. "I look forward to competing again."
Collins, a 2000 Olympian, was a disciple of track coach Trevor Graham, who also worked with Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery and Justin Gatlin.
Collins was stripped of her 2003 world indoor and U.S. championships at 200 meters after an arbitration panel found she used banned substances provided by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative. She never tested positive, but the panel concluded she used the drugs for several years.
She later admitted using the substances.
Originally suspended for eight years, Collins appealed and wound up with a four-year ban through July 17, 2008.
"We certainly support and have supported Michelle Collins' reinstatement once she came forward and rightfully assisted USADA in our efforts to rid the sport of doping," USADA's CEO, Travis Tygart, said in a telephone interview.
"We are pleased that the IAAF gave full consideration to her case and in our mind made an appropriate decision, based on her willingness to provide truthful cooperation and assistance."
Tygart and the Valparaiso Law Clinic said Collins is believed to be the first person reinstated by the IAAF after providing information about other athletes and coaches and speaking to children about the harm performance-enhancing drugs can cause.