Husband and coach of former world 100m champion Zhanna Block is banned until 2019
Mark Block, the coach and husband to 2001 world 100m champion Zhanna Block, has been given a 10-year ban by an arbitration panel, according to the US Anti-Doping Agency.
Block was found guilty of being part of the BALCO drugs scandal, supplying his wife with performance-enhancing drugs. His ban has been backdated to January 1 2009.
His wife, Ukrainian Zhanna Block, shot to prominence in the early Nineties, winning the 1992 European indoor 60m title. Five years later she won the world 200m title and took silver in the 100m.
But her biggest victory came when she defeated Marion Jones over 100m at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton, setting a national record of 10.82 and ending the American’s four-year, 42-meet winning streak.
Jones has already been stripped of the silver medal she won at the 2001 World Championships. It is not known whether Block – who hasn’t competed for five years – will be stripped of any medals.
If Block’s gold medal from Edmonton is taken away, it could ironically be passed on to Ekatherini Thanou, the greek sprinter who is currently involved in an on-going legal battle for making false statements to police to avoid a doping test on the eve of the 2004 Olympics. Finishing behind Thanou in Edmonton was Chandra Sturrup, a former training partner of Jones.
Block stopped competing in 2006, but the last time she won a medal of note was in 2003. She won the world indoor 60m title at the start of that year with a national record of 7.04, and went on to finish third in the 100m at the World Championships in Paris.
Her bronze medal was later upgraded to silver after the disqualification of Kelli White, the first athlete to be banned as part of the BALCO scandal.
Seven years ago Victor Conte, the man at the centre of the BALCO scandal, went on record to say that Zhanna Block had received drugs from his company.
Using evidence from the BALCO investigation, a three-member American Arbitration Association panel were able to determine that Mark Block, who works for Total Sports Management, had trafficked and traded ‘the cream’ and ‘the clear’ for his wife to use, as well as inciting and assisting others in the use of those substances.
The arbitrators said: “Block was attempting to mislead the Panel and USADA on the true facts of this case as part of his efforts to cover up the conspiracy with Conte both in the early stages of discovery and up to and including his testimony at the hearing.”
Block is the 24th person with links to BALCO to be sanctioned by USADA.