December 18, 2014
Yesterday, the news broke that Jon Drummond, the 2012 USA Olympic sprint coach and until last week the USATF Athletes Advisory Committee chair, received an eight-year drug suspension for possessing, trafficking and administering banned substances to Tyson Gay.
Any time the U.S. sprint coach at the Olympics gets a drug ban it is a big deal, but we’re more concerned about what this report means for the bigger fish in Tyson Gay.
We’ve delved into the American Arbitration Association decision which can be found here (it’s also embedded at the bottom of this article), and want you to know we think the Tyson Gay drug scandal is far from over. We’ve got our four big thoughts below.
1) Jon Drummond should have known better.
We’ll admit that when one reads the first half of the 24-page report it’s hard not to think, “Did Jon Drummond get a raw deal here?” After all, his defense was the same as Tyson Gay’s. However, once the full picture emerges, the punishment seems warranted.
Drummond’s (and Gay’s) defense was that he didn’t know the substances he was given by Dr. Clayton Gibson of Atlanta were illegal – even though the substances clearly listed banned ingredients such as testosterone/DHEA and HGH on them. Drummond and Gay saw the banned ingredients and told Dr. Gibson they couldn’t take them but Dr. Gibson told them they were food-based, 100% natural and not illegal – that the labels were on there simply for “marketing to non-athletes and that the labels did not really describe what was in the crèmes.”
In February of that year, the same or similar crèmes had been sent to another Drummond athlete, Marshevet Hooker, by Dr. Gibson and Hooker freaked out when she saw the ingredients. She called Drummond, who took a look at them and they agreed they shouldn’t take the supplements.
When Gay received his crèmes in Eugene that July, another similar discussion occurred this time between Drummond and Gay with the conclusion being the same – they shouldn’t take them. Yet Drummond ended up taking the crèmes with him to Europe, and later that summer and into the next year, Drummond was telling Gay to try the crèmes to see what happened and that Dr. Gibson was on the up and up.
From the timeline in the report, it was two days after Tyson Gay ran 9.86 for second at the 2012 Olympic Trials in the 100m that he and Drummond were flying to see Dr. Gibson in the middle of the Trials on short notice. According to Gay, Gay said he wanted to run pain-free and Drummond told him, “Well the only thing we got left is Dr. Gibson,” so they booked their tickets to go see him.
Despite the fact that he eventually told Gay to take the crèmes, Drummond was worried enough about it that he took the labels off them when travelling in Europe and wrote H for the HGH one and T for the DHEA/testosterone one. The arbiters point out that Drummond was the Olympic coach and should have known better. Drummond should have at a minimum had the crèmes tested.
Former World champ Lauryn Williams, who comes off as a saint in the report by the way, summed things up perfectly as she told Drummond at one point that summer that there is “no such thing as natural HGH” (page 14).
In the end, we feel if you read the full report, most will agree with the arbiters’ decision (page 22):
“When the crèmes (from Dr. Gibson) arrived in Oregon, Drummond says that he told Gay not to use them. Drummond admitted in is post-hearing brief that Gay did not object to that recommendation and that, indeed, Gay asserted to that recommendation. Yet Drummond removed the labels from the crèmes, hand marked them with a T and with an H, put them in his luggage and took them Europe.
“Once in Europe, Drummond took the crèmes to Tyson Gay’s room and told him to use them and see what happened…
“The Panel is of the Opinion that Drummond failed to act in the manner expected of a coach of athletes in the Olympic movement. A coach cannot lead an athlete into the danger of using prohibited substances. A coach cannot simply take the word of a person who recommends crèmes 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.”
2) A potential real bombshell: Was Tyson Gay using HGH prior to moving to Dallas to work with Jon Drummond in May of 2012?
The report had a potential bombshell in it that was mentioned as a casual aside toward the end of the introduction on page 5 (emphasis added by LetsRun.com):
“In May 2012, Gay moved to Dallas TX to start training with Coach Drummond. Gay expected Drummond to coach him on the track and to advise him about supplements and nutrition. On arriving in Dallas, Gay met with Drummond to discuss supplements that Gay was using. Among the items that Gay brought with him was a bottle labeled “HGH” which someone had given to Gay. Drummond and Gay both agreed that they would not use the HGH because Gay did not want to go that route.”
The above quote blew us away.
In terms of his dealings with Jon Drummond and Dr. Gibson, Tyson Gay comes across as a guy who wanted at least initially to do the right thing and was trying not to cheat as he told both Lauryn Williams and Kelly-Ann Baptiste that he was worried about taking the supplements from Dr. Gibson and asked them what they thought.
The above excerpt is completely at odds with that. The excerpt does not say whether it was Drummond’s contention or Gay’s admission that Gay showed up with a bottle labeled HGH in May 2012. It is just stated as a fact. Now the arbitration report was focused on Jon Drummond’s case and perhaps the arbiters did not realize the can of worms they were possibly opening, but that one sentence leads to a slew of questions.
Who gave Gay the bottle labelled HGH? Had Gay used it and was Gay on drugs before he even started working more closely with Drummond in May 2012? USADA gave every indication they thought Gay wasn’t as Gay’s results were only invalidated from July 15, 2012 onwards by USADA. If he was already on drugs, why did the ban only start in July of 2012?
Tyson Gay got a very light one-year suspension because according to a USADA press release, he “provided substantial assistance to USADA,” yet there was no formal document released by USADA explaining Gay’s suspension. The full Tyson Gay story clearly has not been told which leads us to:
3) Much More Had Better Be Coming from Tyson Gay and USADA
LetsRun.com has given USADA and Tyson Gay the benefit of the doubt in regards to Tyson’s reduced suspension, but it is time for USADA to produce more documents showing how Tyson co-operated with them. Hopefully, it goes beyond just saying Drummond was the source of his drugs. What about the mysterious HGH prior to Drummond? Where did it come from? Who gave it to him? Was he taking it? Why would his suspension only go back to July 2012 if he was in possession of HGH prior to that?
There is also a mysterious eight-month gap in the USADA Jon Drummond decision. The ruling talks about how Gay saw Dr. Gibson in November 2012 and agreed to take Dr. Gibson’s creams and then talks about how Gay tested positive in July 2013.
Who was administering the cremes for eight months? Gay? Drummond? Some masseuse? Did Gay’s management team know what was going on in these eight months? We’re assuming Jon Drummond didn’t administer the cremes otherwise it would have been in the report. So who did administer them?
One big thing not mentioned in the decision was that Jon Drummond was not Tyson Gay’s coach in 2013 when he tested positive. Tyson was back with his former coach Lance Brauman.
LetsRun.com talked to Tyson Gay in July 2013 prior to the Lausanne meet (Gay’s last meet before testing positive) and Jon Drummond’s absence was a topic of conversation. Gay said, “Right now I’m only working with one coach. That’s Lance Brauman in Florida.” The LRC story from July 2013 went on to note, “Gay was then asked directly if he was working with Drummond and he said, ‘not at this moment.'” LRC then added a comment that was more prescient than we initially thought: “Gay’s answer and phrasing left the impression there is more to this story.”
We assume more is coming from USADA on Tyson Gay’s cooperation because the full story has clearly not been told.
4) The Report Says Tyson Gay’s Positive Test Cost Him $5 to $6 Million
Tyson Gay was making more money than a lot of people. The report spends some time discussing whether Tyson Gay’s personal manager from Global Athletics, Art Huff, was present when Gay and Drummond arrived back at the Olympic Trials in Eugene with the crèmes from Dr. Gibson. Huff says he wasn’t there, and as an aside, the report notes, “Huff noted that Gay’s positive test result cost him about $5 million.” The report later notes when discussing Gay’s punishment says, “according to estimates, (Gay) lost 5 to 6 million dollars in income.”
Huff used the $5 million to indicate Gay would have an incentive not to cheat, but we think it could easily be an incentive to cheat.
Discuss this article in our forum: A bombshell in the Jon Drummond decision? Report says Tyson Gay had a bottle labelled HGH in May of 2012.
Editor’s note: LetsRun.com has reached out to representatives of USADA and Tyson Gay for comment. If you have info on this matter that you’d like to share, please email or call us at 844-LETSRUN.
Full AAA Jon Drummond decision is embedded below.