Tyson Gay’s coach, Jon Drummond, has been given an eight-year ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after arbitrators concluded he had convinced the sprinter – who has also served a doping suspension – to take illegal substances.
Gay, who tested positive for steroids after the 2013 United States Championships, had his initial two-year ban controversially reduced by half in exchange for what USADA described at the time as ‘signficant assistance” with regard to his case.
Many in the sport, including Sebastian Coe, who is running for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Presidency next summer, questioned the value of this bargain, but the arrangement would now appear to have borne fruit,
It has emerged from USADA’s investigations that Drummond convinced Gay in the summer of 2012, when the sprinter was struggling to run following a hip operation the previous year, to turn to substances which would allow him to compete more freely.
“Coaches have an inherent responsibility to protect athletes – not take advantage of them – but to ensure that they receive the support, training and advice they need to win fairly and in accordance with the rules,” said Travis Tygart, chief executive of USADA, which announced the suspension.
A 23-page summary of the case details the trip Drummond and Gay took to Atlanta to meet Dr. Clayton Gibson in June 2012, shortly after Gay competed in the 100 metres US Olympic Trials and complained he could not run pain-free.
“He wanted to run pain-free,” Drummond is quoted as telling investigators.
“And we were just talking and I said, ‘Well, the only thing we’ve got left is Dr. Gibson,'” .
At Gibson’s office, Drummond and Gay were shown creams, the labels on which said “Testosterone/DHEA,” ”HGH” and “Progesterone Cream,” according to the testimony.
Gibson assured Drummond and Gay that, despite the labeling, the creams were all natural and there was no way they could test positive using them.
In preparation to travel to Europe for the pre-Olympic circuit, Drummond removed the labels and marked them with a simple “T” for testosterone and “H,” for human growth hormone.
All the while, Gay and Drummond debated using the substances.
Eventually, Gay tested positive.
He returned the silver medal he won as part of US Olympic relay team at London 2012, but a potential two-year sentence was reduced to one because he went to USADA to tell his story.
The 31-year old former world 100m and 200m champion retuned to competition in July after serving his one-year ban.
In explaining his positive test last year, Gay said it was not a sabotage story or a case of somebody out to get him:
“I basically put my trust in someone and I was let down,” he said.
Others providing information included American sprinter Marshevet Hooker, who was coached by Drummond and went to see Gibson in 2011, according to the testimony.
In 2012, Hooker received the same creams from Gibson, but, according to the testimony, Drummond told her not to use them.
Shortly after that, Gay started training with Drummond.
While the USADA case has progressed, Drummond filed a lawsuit against Gay and USADA for defamation.
A judge stayed the lawsuit until the USADA arbitration was complete.
Drummond, an exuberant performer in his own days as a sprinter, won Olympic gold in the 4x100m relay at Sydney 2000 and two world sprint relay titles.
At the 2003 IAAF World Championships in Paris he famously held up proceedings for almost an hour as he lay on the track in protest at being disqualified for a false start in the 100m quarter-finals before leaving in tears.
In addition to coaching Gay, Drummond, 46, also served as relay coach for the US track team at London 2012 and as chairman of the Athletes’ Advisory Committee for USA Track and Field.
USATF chief executive Max Siegel released a statement saying Drummond’s tenure on the Athletes’ Advisory Committee ended earlier this month.
“USATF, including the constituents who years ago elected Mr. Drummond in good faith to serve as chair of the Athletes Advisory Committee, had no knowledge of Mr. Drummond’s activities,” Siegel said.
“We are all deeply disappointed.”
Drummond has so far not made any comment but did leave a message on his Facebook page.
“If you’re going to worry…Don’t pray,” he wrote.
“If you’re going to pray…Don’t Worry!
“Food For Thought.”
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, insidethegames.