I just found this interesting article from By Bob Baum; AP Sports Writer and I thought it might be of interest:
Here’s an interesting article from AP Sports writer Bob Baum:
The top assistant to track coach Trevor Graham gave Justin Gatlin an injection, which he believed to be vitamin B12, two weeks before the world record-sharing sprinter tested positive for steroids.
After Randall Evans gave Gatlin the shot, the sprinter was given what he was told were anti-inflammatory pills as a follow-up, a person with knowledge of the case told The Associated Press on Monday.
Gatlin said Evans and Graham came to his house and told him the injection could help his troubled hamstring, said the person, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the case.
Gatlin answered questions about the injection and medication last week at an arbitration hearing to determine whether a possible eight-year ban should be reduced.
The 100-meter gold medalist at the Athens Olympics, who hopes to run in the 2008 Beijing Games, tested positive for testosterone and other steroids last April but has said he doesn’t know how steroids got into his system. A ruling is not expected for several weeks.
Gatlin’s attorney John Collins confirmed Gatlin received an injection and pills. “But we have no reason to believe it was anything other than B12 and Voltaren,” he said.
Voltaren is commonly used to treat inflammation.
Evans did not testify at the hearing.
“I chose not to call him,” Collins said. “I didn’t think he added anything.”
Neither Graham nor his attorney returned a call requesting comment. A message left at the home of Gatlin’s parents also wasn’t returned.
Gatlin’s best bet for a reduced ban comes from his undisputed cooperation with federal authorities and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The sprinter secretly recorded more than 10 phone calls, most of them with Graham, for chief BALCO investigator Jeff Novitzky.
Collins declined to say to whom the other calls were made, citing the ongoing criminal investigation.
“Agent Novitzky testified after reviewing all those calls that there was no evidence Justin ever knowingly received or used any prohibited substance from anyone,” Collins said.
The sprinter also has continued to give anti-drug talks at local schools and other gatherings.
Gatlin, Collins said, wants to regain his reputation as much or more than he wants to compete in Beijing.
That April 2006 test was Gatlin’s second positive doping test. His first doping offense occurred when he was in college at the University of Tennessee. He stopped taking medicine to treat attention deficit disorder a few days before a competition, but it didn’t clear his system, according to the case records. He received a two-year ban, which was reduced by a year because of the “exceptional circumstances.”
This time, Gatlin’s defense centered not on Evans but masseur Chris Whetstine, who applied a cream to Gatlin during a routine session the day before the positive test.
Gatlin’s defense contended that since the sprinter never knowingly took any banned substances, the source must have been Whetstine.
The masseur denied the allegation when it first was suggested by Graham last year and repeated that denial at last week’s hearing. He did not return a message left Monday at his Eugene, Ore., office.
Graham, whose former pupils include Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery, repeatedly has denied ever supplying steroids or other banned drugs to athletes.
But he was charged last November with three counts of making false statements to federal agents. The government said Graham lied in 2004 when he denied distributing steroids or telling his athletes where they could get them.
It was Graham who provided the government with its first evidence in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative steroids probe, mailing a vial of a designer drug called “the clear” to USADA.
In Athens, in the immediate aftermath of Gatlin’s 100-meter victory, Graham acknowledged he had sent the syringe.
“I was just a coach doing the right thing at the time,” he said then.
Asked what Gatlin thinks of Graham now, Collins paused and said “You’d have to ask him.”