Tyson Gay’s bum hamstring? Nope.
Performance enhancing drugs or lack thereof? Maybe.
The 2008 Olympic has come to an end and everyone is still wondering why and how the Americans simply got their behinds handed to them on the track — mainly the short sprints.
Excuses will and have been thrown around since Usain Bolt’s 100-meter final and will be long after the Olympics are over. The simplest answer is that the nation of Jamaica is just faster than us. From top to bottom they’ll run past our guys in one swift — bolt. But there is a more complex answer to the question of why.
Question: who have been the fastest American sprinters in the past six years? I give you a hint, two are serving prison terms and one just recently lost his battle for reinstatement. Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery and Justin Gatlin. A five-time Olympic medalist and two world record holders. What’s the connection? All were members of the same sprint team — they were all coached by Trevor Graham.
Graham was the creator of Sprint Capitol USA. A track training team based out of Raleigh, N.C. Graham trained Jones, Montgomery, Gatlin and also silver medalist Shawn Crawford (when he was the best 200 man in the business). Each athlete was on top of their game and America never once thought about anyone contending with them on the track.
Then THG happened. Graham is known as an indirect accomplice of Victor Conte — known supplier of THG — and he gave the performance enhancers to his team who many tested positive and consequently suspended from the sport. (Athletes such as Jones and Antonio Pettigrew had to give their Olympic medals back to the IOC.) Montgomery served time for money laundering and Jones is currently serving a sentence for lying to the Feds about her steroid use. Graham, however, was convicted for the THG.
Graham coached the best — and fastest — sprinters in the U.S. Then he was banned from all USA Track and Field facilities and all athletes. Gatlin was suspended and Crawford changed coaches and hasn’t been the same sprinter since.
True Jamaica are the new kids on the block when it comes to sprinting. But what if Graham never sent the syringe to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency? What if he was never banned by USATF? What if?