Michael Johnson steroidsMichael Johnson felt he did not deserve the gold medal, and thus he decided to give it up. Johnson came to such a difficult decision after Antonio Pettigrew, his teammate at the 1600-meter relay in 2000 Sydney Olympics, publicly confessed that he used steroids. The US team took home the gold in that event.

“As difficult as it is, I will be returning it to the International Olympic Committee because I don’t want it,” Johnson, the former Baylor superstar, wrote in a column in Daily Telegraph in London. “I feel cheated, betrayed and let down.”

The gold medal is one of five Johnson won in his impressive career. He still holds the world record in the 200 and 400 meters. Pettigrew’s testimony means that three of the four runners in the finals on the US relay team have been tainted by use of steroids and other performance boosters.

Twins Alvin and Calvin Harrison, the other two members of the four-man team, were suspended for doping violations. Alvin Harrison accepted a four-year ban in 2004 after admitting he used performance enhancers. Calvin Harrison tested positive for a banned stimulant in 2003 and was suspended for two years. Like Pettigrew, the twins were coached by Graham.

Pettigrew was subpoenaed to testify in the trial of his longtime coach Trevor Graham. Angel ‘Memo’ Heredia, the steroid dealer turned prosecution witness, has mentioned several of Graham’s elite track athletes including Pettigrew, whom he said he supplied with steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. Pettigrew’s name came as a surprise since he never tested positive for steroid use.

“The news that Antonio was scheduled to testify to having taken performance-enhancing drugs shocked me like no other drug-related story,” Johnson wrote upon learning of Pettigrew’s subpoenaed testimony. “…He was someone I considered a friend.”
During his testimony on May 22 in a San Francisco district court, Pettigrew acknowledged that he had used banned substances as far back as 1997. Graham was found guilty on one count to lying to federal investigators during their inquiry into the BALCO steroid scandal.