Cyclist Tammy Thomas Finds Hope in Religion and the Fitness Industry After Steroid Conviction

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A former professional cyclist who was convicted of lying about her use of banned anabolic steroids has asked a judge to end the last 11-months of a five-year probation. Tammy Thomas was convicted of federal charges of perjury and obstruction of justice as part of the BALCO steroid scandal. She was sentenced to five years of probation. She has repented and reportedly turned her life around with the help of God and a job as a personal trainer.

“I went down the wrong path,” Thomas said. “But there’s a reason God plucked me out of small town Mississippi, put me on center stage and then knocked me to my knees… I’m ready for anything. Nothing happens by chance. God has his plan for me.”

Thomas has since obtained a law degree from the University of Oklahoma. However, she had been unable to find employment even as a paralegal due to her conviction.

Thomas returned to her Southern Baptist beliefs and embraced God’s plan for her. The plan included becoming certified as a personal trainer, opening her own fitness facility and dedicating her life to helping people physically and spiritually.

Thomas was an elite track cyclist who used anabolic steroids to enhance her performance as an Olympic hopeful for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Her Olympic dreams were dashed when she got caught up in the BALCO steroid scandal and was linked to designer anabolic steroids. The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) gave Thomas a lifetime ban from competition.

Thomas was one of several elite athletes who used the once-undetectable steroids known as THG (tetrahydrogestrinone). THG was synthesized by Illinois organic chemist Patrick Arnold specifically to avoid detection by the existing anti-doping protocols of the time. Most of the THG was sold and distributed by BALCO. But Thomas obtained THG via Arnold.

The federal government accused Thomas of lying to the grand jury about her use of steroids and the acquisition of THG from Arnold.

Thomas argued that THG was not legally classified as an anabolic steroid when she purchased it from Arnold. (THG was a synthetic steroid that was legally classified only as an unapproved new drug.) Thus, she did not lie about using steroids.

She further argued she was truthful with the grand jury when she denied obtaining THG from Arnold. (She actually obtained the steroid from Kelsey Dalton, a former girlfriend of Arnold.)

The jury rejected both arguments, convicted her of three counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. A federal judge sentenced her to six months of home detention and five years of probation in October 2008.

She hopes that vacating the remaining time on her conviction will allow her to make use of her law degree. However, she recognizes that her dream of practicing law may never be realized.

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Elias, P. (December 8, 2012). Doping figure wants off probation to practice law. Retrieved from