On Wednesday, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced that USA Track and Field Olympic coach Jon Drummond was given an eight-year sanction for doping violations. Drummond’s punishment stems from his role as coach of sprinter Tyson Gay, who tested positive for an exogenous androgenic anabolic steroid in and out of competition in 2013.
“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,” USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart said in the release.
USADA’s decision was based on the findings of an independent three-member panel of the American Arbitration Association North American Court of Arbitration for Sport. The panel’s 23-page report details the violations, which include possession, trafficking, and “assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up, and other complicity involving one of [sic] more anti-doping rule violations and/or attempted anti-doping rule violations.”
According to the report, after the 2012 Olympic Team Trials, Gay approached Drummond and complained of lingering pain from an injury sustained the year before. Drummond was aware of a doctor in Atlanta who would provide banned substances. “Well, all we got left is this,” Drummond is quoted as saying in the AAA report. Gay agreed, and together they traveled to meet the doctor.
In addition to the connection and encouragement, Drummond also transported the banned substances to Europe in preparation for the Olympic Games that summer in London.
Drummond’s connection was first revealed in a ProPublica story in May 2013. Shortly thereafter, Drummond filed a defamation lawsuit against Gay. The suit was stayed this past September pending USADA’s decision.
In addition to his coaching roles, which include being named by USATF as the men’s and women’s relay coach at the 2012 Olympics, Drummond was also chairman of the USA Track and Field Athletes Advisory Council. In that role, he represented the athletes’ collective voice and was in direct contact with USATF’s executive board and president Stephanie Hightower.
Claiming that USATF had no knowledge of Drummond’s activities, CEO Max Siegel released a statement, saying, “Athletes take ultimate responsibility for everything that goes into their bodies, and those who are part of those decisions and actions also are held accountable.”