Antonio PettigrewHe used to be in the Hall of Fame, now Antonio Pettigrew seems to belong in the Hall of Shame. This came about after he publicly admitted that he used steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in his testimony in the trial of his former tack coach Trevor Graham.

During last month’s trial, Pettigrew came clean about using banned substances erythropoietin (EPO) and human growth hormone from 1997 to 2003. Both compounds are believed to enhance the performance of athletes who use them. In his testimony, Pettigrew said that once he started taking banned substances, he was able to run 400 meters in the 43-second range for the first time. “I was running incredible times as I was preparing for track meets,” he said. “I was able to recover faster.”

Graham was found guilty of lying to federal investigators about his relationship to a steroid dealer. The steroid dealer, Angel Heredia, is the prosecution’s star witness in the trial against Graham. It was Heredia who mentioned the names of several athletes, including Pettigrew, whom he said he supplied with steroids and other illegal drugs.

Pettigrew’s decision to give up his gold medal for the 1600-meter relay, including all the other awards he had won since 1997, did not surprise many. His co-winner in said event, Michael Johnson, has also decided to give up his medal after Pettigrew’s testimony. Johnson said he felt ‘cheated, betrayed, and let down’ because of Pettigrew’s admission to steroid use.

The other two members of the relay team, twins Alvin and Calvin Harrison, are still holding on to their medals. The twins, however, have already been suspended for steroid use. Alvin Harrison accepted a four-year ban in 2004 after admitting he used steroids and other illegal substances. Calvin Harrison tested positive for a banned stimulant in 2003 and was suspended for two years. Like Pettigrew, both were coached by Graham.

Travis Tygart approved of Pettigrew’s decision. “It takes courage to accept full responsibility for such egregious conduct, and hopefully, Mr. Pettigrew’s case will serve as another powerful reminder to young athletes of the importance of competing clean,” Tygart said. Tygart is the chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which handled Pettigrew’s case.

The 40-year-old Pettigrew is currently an assistant track coach at North Carolina University. He was also penalized with a two-year ban from track. This penalty, however, was seen as largely symbolic move since he’s retired from track since 2002.

Comments

comments