Still maintaining innocence, sprinter says he's through

Disgraced U.S. sprinter Tim Montgomery retired on Thursday rather than wait out a two-year suspension and return under a cloud of suspicion.

"I don't want to be looked upon as a cheat," the former 100-meter world record-holder said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Although he did not test positive for drugs, Montgomery was banned for &to=' target=_blank>doping based on evidence gathered in the criminal investigation of BALCO, a San Francisco-area lab that served many high-profile athletes.

"It's like getting a whipping for something you know you didn't do," Montgomery said.

The 30-year-old runner maintains he never knowingly took steroids or any other banned substances, and worries about his legacy.

"That's the main concern because I don't know what to tell my kids," Montgomery said. "I don't know what to tell my mother and father, even though they say they love me and don't worry about it."

Montgomery said he and three-time Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones have split, although they remain in regular contact. They have a 2-year-old son, Monty.

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