COLORADO SPRINGS: Jon Drummond, former coach of US sprinter Tyson Gay, has been banned for eight years after arbitrators ruled he possessed, trafficked and administered banned drugs to an athlete he coached.
The US Anti-Doping Agency on Wednesday announced the ban is to begin on December 17.
The ban prohibits the 46-year-old former sprinter from coaching, training or advising athletes and participating or coaching at any event sanctioned by USA Track and Field or the sport’s global governing body the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
“Coaches have an inherent responsibility to protect athletes – not to 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,” USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said in a statement.
Drummond was Gay’s coach when the athlete was suspended in June 2013 after testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid in two out-of-competition tests.
As part of his punishment, Gay also returned the silver medal he received for the 4x100m relay at the London Olympics.
The former world champion’s ban was reduced from two years to one by USADA due to Gay’s cooperation, which included information that contributed to the agency’s case against Drummond.
US sprinter Marshevet Hooker and Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste, both of whom worked with Drummond, also provided information.
Drummond, who won an Olympic 4x100m relay gold at the 2000 Sydney Games and was part of the elite John Smith stable that included former 100m world record holder Maurice Greene and Trinidadian ace sprinter Ato Boldon, had denied involvement in Gay’s positive drug test.
But the panel of independent arbitrators found that Drummond was instrumental in connecting Gay with a chiropractor named Clayton Gibson who provided Gay with the DHEA that resulted in Gay’s positive test.
The panel ruled that Drummond “failed to act in the manner expected of a coach of athletes in the Olympic movement.”
Based on testimony from parties involved, the arbitrators were satisfied that Drummond, who learned of Gibson from Hooker, recommended that Gay consult Gibson as a last resort in his efforts to train and compete without pain.
The arbitrators found that Drummond failed to intervene sufficiently when Gibson showed him and Gay cremes labeled “Testosterone/DHEA,” “HGH” and “Progesterone Creme” which were later sent to the athlete in Oregon.
Drummond, who earned the nickname ‘Clown Prince of the Track’ during his athletics career, argued he advised Gay not to use the cremes, but the coach nevertheless removed the labels and took them to Europe at the athlete’s request, and Gay used some of the products in July of 2012.
Coach must be ‘watchdog’
Although both coach and athlete had concerns about the cremes, Drummond testified that he didn’t believe they contained banned substances.
“I didn’t know,” he said. “And so I didn’t process it to even, like, think about it.”
However, the arbitrators found that Drummond knew Gay had used the cremes when, as a US Olympic team relay coach in 2012 he put Gay on the 4x100m relay team at the London Games, where the Americans won silver.
And after the Olympics, Drummond “continued to facilitate Gay remaining in contact with Dr. Gibson, even though Drummond knew that Gibson had given Gay cremes labeled as containing prohibited substances.”
“A coach cannot lead an athlete into the danger of using prohibited substances,” the panel concluded. “A coach cannot simply take the word of a person who recommends cremes whose labels identify prohibited substances but who says that the labels don’t mean what they say.
“A coach must be a watchdog when it comes to prohibited substances.”