Jon Drummond, sprinter Tyson Gay’s coach has been hit with an eight-year ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for his role in convincing Gay to take illegal substances. Travis Tygart, chief executive of the USADA announced the suspension, saying “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.”
When Gay, a former world 100m and 200m champion, tested positive for steroids after the U.S. Championships, he was given a two-year ban. But in a controversial move, it was reduced to one-year after the USADA said Gay gave them ‘significant assistance’ with his case. What led to the doping is that following hip surgery Gay was struggling to run freely due to the pain. Drummond convinced Gay in to try substances that would enable him to run without pain and to compete more freely.
In June 2012 Drummond and Gay traveled to Atlanta to meet Dr. Clayton Gibson, a chiropractor and anti-aging specialist who, according to the testimony, gave Gay some creams labeled “Testosterone/DHEA,” “HGH” and “Progesterone Cream.” Gibson assured both men that despite the labeling, the creams were all natural and there was no chance of testing positive when using them.
Nevertheless, Drummond removed the labels and marked the tubes with a T for testosterone and H for human growth hormone prior to leaving for Europe for the pre-Olympic circuit. Gay eventually tested positive and returned his silver medal won as part of the US Olympic relay team at the London games in 2012. Now aged 31, Gay returned to competition this past July.
Other testimony in the case came from U.S. sprinter Marshevet Hooker, also coached by Drummond. She saw Gibson in 2011 and received the same creams as Gay. But Drummond told her not to use them.
Drummond, called by one reporter as an “exuberant performer,” is himself an Olympic gold-medal winning sprinter. He won gold in the 4x100m relay at the Sydney 2000 games as well as two world sprint relay titles. The 46-year-old coach was also relay coach for the U.S. track team at London in 2012 and served as chairman of the athletes’ advisory committee (AAC) for the USA Track and Field (USATF).
Max Siegel, USATF chief executive, released a statement saying the Drummond’s tenure on the AAC ended earlier this month and that “We are all deeply disappointed.”