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Battered Washington still chasing gold

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Tom Fordyce | 08:00 UK time, Monday, 15 June 2009

This is the extraordinary story of a sportsman betrayed by his closest friend, of a life destroyed by someone else's cheating and deceit and of a sport struggling to cope with the aftermath of a doping explosion.

Tyree Washington could have been an athletics superstar. He should have gold medals galore, world records, sponsorship deals and a healthy bank balance.

He should have, but he doesn't. And none of it is his fault.

Washington, Chris Jones and Young lost their gold medals after Antonio Pettigrew admitted doping

Washington was a 400m runner with a rangy running style and a trademark headband around his shaved pate. As a 21-year-old he won bronze at the 1997 World Championships, anchored the US 4x400m team to gold and was part of the quartet that set a new world record the following year.

Both the relay medal and record have now been taken off him, scratched from the books after his team-mate Antonio Pettigrew admitted doping throughout the period.

Worse was to come. In 2003 he won silver at the Worlds in Paris behind Jerome Young and again took gold in the 4x400m. First the relay gold went, courtesy of team-mate Calvin Harrison's ban. Then the bombshell - his best mate Young had been doping too.

"They robbed me," he says simply. "Jerome took away my moment. He took away everything."

It was Young's duplicity that distressed Washington the most. The pair had roomed together on the European circuit for years, hung out, done all the things that best friends do.

"When Jerome won the world title, I was happy for him," Washington told me. "If it wasn't going to be me who won it, I wanted it to be him.

"That night, though, I looked into his eyes and I knew something was wrong. He didn't seem right to me. He wasn't at peace. I was his best friend - with anyone else, he could look at them and they wouldn't notice, but I'm Ty. I felt there was something wrong.

"When all the allegations came out, it made sense. He tested positive, and I was like, 'Hey J, what happened?' and he said, 'No Ty - it's not true - they're trying to set me up.' Then it happened the second time, and I was like, 'Oh man...'

"I wanted to believe him, but it happened so many times. And he was with Trevor Graham's group - these are people with athletes that have doped."

Washington's friend Young (centre) beat him into silver in 2003 but subsequently admitted doping

That Washington had made it to the start line in Paris was something of a miracle in itself. Brought up by his single mother, with his father in prison, he suffered from such acute asthma as a child that he spent long periods in hospital.

After his breakthrough year in 1997, his life lurched off the rails again two years later when his 18-month-old niece was murdered by her mother Rosalyn. Washington testified in court against his sister and saw her imprisoned for life - something he says "broke me apart" - but is now trying to support her as she battles a cancer so advanced that she is losing her sight.

In 2003 he was unbeaten both before and after the Worlds. Michael Johnson wrote in his BBC column that Washington could dominate the 400m for years to come. Then came Paris and Young's victory, followed by a succession of debilitating injuries. His track career would never again hit the same heights.

In February this year, Washington was finally upgraded to world champion in the IAAF's record books. When we speak, however, that's as far as it's gone. He's still waiting for his medal and his winner's cheque. The sponsorship money he would have received as world champ is almost certainly gone forever.

"I love athletics, but it feels like I'm being treated like the guy who did something wrong," he says. "They gave me the title six years later, and it really doesn't make up for it.

"My friends say that they should have a ceremony at this summer's Worlds in Berlin to give me my medal - it would only take two or three minutes. It's the least they could do, but they're not even doing that.

"I've lost millions of dollars in sponsorship. Not winning that gold that night - my sponsors backed out, because they don't want a second-place finisher. I didn't get the increase in my base salary for being a world champion. There's so much money that I lost and I can't get back."

Washington remains angry with both US Track and Field (USTAF) and the IAAF over what he perceives as a lack of sympathy and assistance. "There's the blood sweat and tears, the being in hospital for hours on end, and being away from my kid so I can make a living - but they just see me as a has-been. They hope I'll go away, and I'm appalled by it.

"I'm going to tell it like it is. I love my country, but the way they've treated me, I'm embarrassed to have run for the United States."

For their part, the governing bodies say their hands are tied. "It's not unique to Tyree, but it illustrates how athletes lose out when other athletes cheat," says USATF spokeswoman Jill Geer.

"If someone were to test positive at the 2007 Worlds, their prize money would be withheld until the test was completed, but here's a situation where the prize money has already been paid out.

"It's years down the road, and recovering money that no longer exists is frankly a problem. Going to Jerome to ask for the money - Jerome doesn't have £30,000. Getting blood from a stone is very difficult."

Neither the IAAF nor USATF have any jurisdiction over athletes who no longer compete. In effect, Young is out of reach.

"If Jerome had been banned for just one year and wanted to come back to compete, he would need to pay the money back to compete - and that's the carrot and stick used by the IAAF and us to get money repaid," says Geer.

"But in the case where the athlete doesn't want to compete again, and also doesn't have the means to pay, it gets very complicated. We don't have the legal leverage to get the money out. It's something that's very, very difficult to solve."

Washington, a passionate and engaging man, is angry not only for himself but at the damage done to athletics as a whole by the doping culture.

"When an athlete makes that decision, they're not just affecting themselves and seven other rivals," he says. "They're affecting families and friends, coaches and agents, the sporting world. There's a black cloud over the whole sport. People think athletics is a freak show, a contest about who can drug up the most.

"They start to think, Was Ty drugging? Was Marc [Raquil, 2003 world bronze medallist] drugging because he had that fantastic finish? I was clean, Marc was clean, everyone but one man was clean - but Jerome ruined it for all of us."

Washington is not the type of man to sit around feeling sorry for himself. While he continues to fight for the money and respect he feels he is owed, he has set up a campaign called Killeroids to warn high school students and young athletes how steroid abuse can ruin lives.

"I wanted to fight back, and I thought the best way to do it was to educate," he says. "This is my way of trying to build up the sport.

Tyree Washington"Marion [Jones] and Justin [Gatlin] failed the sport. The world looks at track and field and thinks we have all failed. We're role models and teachers, and kids look up to us. If we make a wrong decision, it'll affect them all. I want to get a message out there that we are trying to kick the cheats out.

A week after Tyree and I first chat, and a few days after I ask USATF and the IAAF about his case, there is finally some good news.

Tyree hears from USATF that a new gold medal has been forged for him by the IAAF and sent on to the States. USATF also promise to present his medal at the national championships in Eugene at the end of June.

For Washington it is a bittersweet moment. On one hand he is delighted - he will at last receive the gold, six years after Young took it from him in Paris. On the other, he will never know the feeling of standing alone atop the podium at a World Championships.

The prize money, the sponsorship money, is not his. And, ultimately, the pain of betrayal by his best friend remains.

"This will help me and all athletes past and present," he says. "But as an athlete, I fought til the very end. I went out there full force for my country, so I'm going to do whatever I can to get justice.

"People say I'm bitter. I'm not bitter, Tom, I'm upset - but wouldn't you be upset if someone took four gold medals and a world record away from you?"

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I doubt any other athlete has gone through so much as Washington. As he says 4 golds and a world record, doesn't come easily plus all his problems in his private life aswell.
    He deserves more support, he has always been facing an uphill battle. Good Luck Tyree and good blog

  • Comment number 2.

    I didn't know about this: it's interesting to see doping issues from a different perspective to that which we normally look at it. I can only imagine how frustrated he must be.

  • Comment number 3.

    Fantastic piece, an absolutlely compelling read. This is the kind of story that would make a fantastic book or film!

    It's great to hear that Tyree will get the gold he deserves but the key point is that there is no financial recompense for those that lose out through others actions.

    Maybe a special fund could be set up for those in Tyree's position, but I doubt that will ever happen. It essentially means that sporting bodies are admitting that cheats can get away with taking money from the authorities and other athletes.

    It's great that the man is trying to fight back through education after all he has been through, there are many who would've fallen into pitfalls and personal problems given the same situation.

  • Comment number 4.

    Sad story...Hope this guy gets what he deserves..Great Article

  • Comment number 5.

    I don't believe in America's suing culture, but surely this is a great case for compensation??

  • Comment number 6.

    Really interesting story and article and its good to hear from someone who has clearly had real first hand experience of how it feels to be cheated out of a medal and a title. Feel a lot of sympathy for the guy, obviously his upbringing was far from perfect, he had to deal with a lot of other things such as his asthma and having to testify against his own sister. And to then be cheated by such a good friend out of what for all athletes is what they dream about must have felt awful. If I was him I think I would have a certain amount of bitterness and a sense of 'when's life going to be fair to me' because it seems like life's thrown a fair few obstacles in his path.

    But a great ending to the story that at least now he will get his medal, although he won't get the financial rewards he should have at least he knows he was the best that day and hopefully he hasn't done too bad out of athletics money-wise. And its excellent that he's using his experiences to try and teach youngsters of how damaging drugs are to the sport and society.

    If anything I think this story shows just how important it is that first drug offences are once again punished with 4 year bans and athletes are restricted by what events they can enter if they have been found taking banned substances. I'd very much like to see a worldwide ban on drug cheats participating in the Olympics. Its such a serious offence and causes so much hurt for so many people that punishments need to be severe to act as a deterrant. People need to realise they can't cheat their way to the top. Its more important to be honest and be the best you can be than cheat and try to fool everyone into thinking you're the best there's ever been.

  • Comment number 7.

    What a fantastic article.

  • Comment number 8.

    Really intresting but at the same time sad story. It just shows how bad drug abuse has become in the sport when a innocent athlete looses 4 gold medels and a world record.

  • Comment number 9.

    Surely it is clear ... "all sponsorship money earned through drug-enhanced performance should be refundable" - society should not endorse cheating.

    But then we must clean up our other sports ... arguably Barcelona are european champions because a defender got away with a deliberate handball in their penalty area - versus Chelsea in the semi-final. surely the cheating player should have been banned from the final under post-match review ...

    until all forms of cheating are clearly and openly addressed, until it becomes too expensive to risk cheating - penalties etc - then nothing will change.

  • Comment number 10.

    This is by far one of the most enlightening and compelling articles I've ever read on BBC Sport. Like most I don't follow athletics apart from the major events (World's, Olympics, etc.), and of course I've been put off athletics for a while now, after all the constant drug stories. Of course Usain Bolt has changed that a little, but there's still that element of doubt about him, he smashed the 100m world record. We can't help but be suspiscious now, constantly of these athletes. I remember once reading Ben Johnson thought he could run 9.80 clean, but that still doesn't excuse the fact he's a cheat.

    Anyway it's sad that this aspect of the story isn't recognised, I never really thought about just how much it affects the athletes, losing out to cheats, financially. There's also the fact that if you are given gold after the other athlete cheated, people don't recognise it as much as being an acheivement. We (myself included) tend to think they didn't deserve it and they got it by default. Which is wrong, and this article has started to highlights the real crime, that drugs stops great acheivements in sport being recognised, and not that sportsmen were only great because they cheated.

  • Comment number 11.

    In the 2004 Olympics Justin Gatlin won surely this is a similiar thing where a cheating athelete stole anothers (this time Francis Obikwelu) moment

  • Comment number 12.

    Great article, but... do you have to include the errant likes?

    He tested positive, and I was like, 'Hey J, what happened?' and he said, 'No Ty - it's not true - they're trying to set me up.' Then it happened the second time, and I was like, 'Oh man...'

    He may have said them, but surely you could just edit them out?

  • Comment number 13.

    Very good article, hope this chap gets the compensation he deserves....

  • Comment number 14.

    What a brilliant article by Tom Fordyce to bring this abominable case of injustice to the attention of the world.If the IAAF had any sense of Fair Play,they would present Tyree with his gold medal at the World Championships in Berlin,instead of a token gesture at the USTAF Champs but alas,they are quick enough to strip medals,abolish records etc but cannot rectify their own errors.

    Tyree is gold medal winner and World Champion not only on the track,but in real life as he has been penalised for somebody else's cheating,injustice.What a role model he is compared to those cheats who robbed him of his deserved place in history.

  • Comment number 15.

    Wonderful article. But unfortunately, at this time, there is no way to stop the cheating, even if the good people like Washington are the true victims of all this.

  • Comment number 16.

    Excellent article! You have to feel sorry for the guy to have so much go against him not only in his professional life, but also his private life for absolutely no reason of his own. It speaks volumes about his character though that instead of just feeling sorry for himself, he has channelled his energy into educating the youngsters who are just getting started in Athletics. Surely somebody who is working for the good of the sport in this way should be supported by the IAAF, rather than just being swept under the carpet.

    Hopefully he gets what he deserves!

  • Comment number 17.

    Comment #9

    I'm sorry but what a pathetic excuse. How you could possibly compare the two is utterly beyond me.

    A split second decision in which a player's arm touches a football cannot be condemned in the same way that someone who knowingly takes illegal substances to gain an advantage.

    I find it utterly bizzarre that you even use that one example rather than any other ones throughout football.

    I don't know if you are a Chelsea fan, but it sounds like you are and an extremely bitter one at that.

    More to the point, I'm delighted Washington has finally been rewarded, unfortunately not in the way he fully deserves. Hopefully he can stay as strong as he has done all these years and continue to inspire others.

    Great blog Tom.

  • Comment number 18.

    Tough on what seems ot be a very honest athlete.
    A great article, please pass on to Mihir Bbose to show how its done!!

  • Comment number 19.

    Brilliant article, very refreshing from the dross we have become accustomed to here. I didn't even know who this guy was, but i'm going to google him as this is a compelling story, albeit sad.
    Why dont they make it a rule everyone gets tested before competing? That way they can surely eliminate this cancer thats ruined sport.

  • Comment number 20.

    This is the tragedy of doping - innocent people like Tyree Washington have their chance of glory snatched away. Who can even name the athletes who trailed in behind Marion Jones, for example? Only Carl Lewis in '88 has really been recognised as the true champion despite being beaten on the track.

    And on the other side of the coin, innocent athletes like Butch Reynolds and Diane Modahl get caught up in the machinery of the testing regime and have their careers ruined, too. While the authorities need to be as careful and rigorous as possible, and their reluctance to accept their own mistakes, particularly in these two cases, is unforgiveable, let's not forget that this testing regime only exists to try to stop the real cheats out there. They are the true villains of the piece.

  • Comment number 21.

    Good blog and a good story, certainly feel like Mr Washington has been in the wrong place at the wrong time on many occasions and working in Law there are many similar civil and corporate situations all too similar, especially when the green is involved!

    I feel for Mr Washington and i just wish someone was big enough to stand up and say that there has been a misscarrage of justice in this case and rectify it. the Man U youth who had to give up because of injury got a hell of a payout ........ if Mr Washington can actually point to the money which he has lost out on through historic correspondance then there must be some way of getting the cash back into his possesion.........in this case i feel that it is about more than cash.

  • Comment number 22.

    Tom Fordyce, this is easily the best Athletics article I have read on this site and one of the best I've read in the last few years. It's stories like these that make the best reading, not pointless empty articles about which gold-plated millionaire footballer may or may not go to a club who wants to pay far too much money for him.

    I feel genuinely sorry for this guy, and it's interesting, as I was definitely in the camp that was PRO Dwain Chambers being able to come back. After reading this article, I think I've changed my mind.

    Once again, this was a fantastic read, Tom. Take a bow, son, take a bow.

  • Comment number 23.

    Comment #18

    Here Here!!

  • Comment number 24.

    Its all very well bemoaning the loss of relay medals because one member cheated and the others may have been clean but its overlooking the obvious surely?! The relay team would not have run as fast without the drugs, so medals may have not been forthcoming anyway.

    As a (former) athletics fan I sat and watched US track and field winners (including Tyree Washington) preen and prance arond after winning without any grace or respect for vanquished opponents, who rarely had the money, facilities or fame afforded to the US team.

    Particularly through the 1999-2003 period US track dominance was extraordinary and shockinly ungracious. I'm sorry Mr Washington had a bad deal, but how about the Ghanaian, Nigerian, Caribbean and Brazilian sprinters who took part in those races, got pushed out of the medals by cheats, and never received the sponsorhips or assistance then or now the Americans took for granted.

  • Comment number 25.

    One of the best articles I have read in a while, thank you. Powerful stuff.

    I'm still a huge athletics fan, but I hadn't thought about how doping affects those indirectly associated from such a first-hand perspective.

  • Comment number 26.

    Great article.

    I think he should start a petition to be recognised properly as the true champion he really was.

  • Comment number 27.

    Comment #17 and #18

    Spot-on comments from both of you.Yes,wouldn't be a change for Mihir Bose to write article like this given the media platform he has as a BBC Sports Reporter that brings this case of injustice to the fore.

  • Comment number 28.

    fantastic article,

    Although i am genuinely amazed at how the nature of the comments don't mirror the pro chambers sentiment that seems to prevail in these comments sections.

    As a reasonably able domestic middle distance runner (with a genuine understanding of how hard some of these guys have to work)I have nothing but sympathy for anyone who have wrongly missed out on the financial (and the less quantifiable) rewards that are hard enough to come by in athletics, and nothing but contempt for those ignorant enough to cheat for them.

  • Comment number 29.

    Excellent blog, Tom.
    Maybe the IAAF should dip into their piggy banks on occasions such as this and help out a wronged athlete?

  • Comment number 30.

    Excellent blog as always Tom... Although, reading your profile, I feel that I should advise you consider all aspects of the world of Monkey Tennis... can I recommend you take a look at www.monkeytennisfc.com ?

  • Comment number 31.

    very good article tom

    whilst it is good and LONG, LONG overdue that Wasington will finally receive the gold medal I feel that the IAAF are giving it him as a side issue at the national championships and that medal ceremonies should be done at the same championships the medals were won at, by doing it away from the worlds they come across as trying to hide and for athletes such as washington who are clean they should be proud to give him the medal

    drug cheats are headline news and the true winners should be given the respect that they deserve, the system has failed them once by not catching the cheats and should not do so again

  • Comment number 32.

    A sad and compelling story, but an uplifting one at the same time.

    I have had reasons within the last 18 months to breakdown - career heading nowhere, even with all the hard work put into my Masters programme, obtaining professional qualifications etc; relationships heading nowhere... Within this period, I have let go of emotions and have returned to normal senses, on and off, on and off. But when I read stories of this sort, I look at myself and say "it could be worse"!

    This young man has gone through hell for no fault of his and I cannot imagine the ordeal he must have gone through, careerwise and family wise. I dont know him but he has touched my heart today, and because of this story, I have hope. The hope that something good will come in the end.

    As I round up, I pray that this young man will get and achieve what he hopes for and that these past few years in his life would only stand as a testimony to his future acheivements and for those of us who still hope, that we shall overcome by sheer dedication and determination, that this young man has shown us today.

    Goodluck Mr Washington. Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 33.

    Something should happen at the next worlds or Olympics, dedicated to those clean athletes who were deserved winners, if not belated.

    The fact is that a number of medals have been stripped over the last 10 years or so - I have no idea who the true winners of the events were. In turn, no one knows who were the clean athletes. All these clean athletes with their new medals should be given the praise they deserve. A large parade should be included at the next games celebrating these clean athletes, like Washington, who got their rightful place long after they competed.

    Its time for Athletics to embrace the good, and not bury its head in the sand.

  • Comment number 34.

    An interesting and insightful story... I had up until now thought that drugs cheats were only cheating themselves however this shows that this is not necessarily the case.

  • Comment number 35.

    Brilliant piece and compelling read! Feel sorry for My Washington but applaud his courage and strength of character to carry on through all the aversity that life has thrown at him! Good luck mate!!

  • Comment number 36.

    I hope things can work out for Mr. Washington.
    The medal ceremony will be little compensation now but something at least.

    It would be good if you can catch up with him a year or so down the line, Tom, let us see how he's doing then.

  • Comment number 37.

    This is all very nice, but a quick check shows that Mr. Washington is currently being coached by one Antonio Pettigrew - the very man that supposedly cost him the medal and record.

    For someone so staunchly against drugs and bitter against his teammates, it seems somewhat hypocritical to be coached by someone who played an integral role in the whole situation.

  • Comment number 38.

    I like comment #33

    What if at the next Worlds Olympics they had a special ceremony where athletes who were cheated out of places were invited to collect their medals and stand together to all receive the adulation of the crowd? It would be a way of saying this is for all those athletes who have been cheated out of their moment in the spotlight and wouldn't take a long time to do. I think these athletes deserve that moment, the drug cheats had that moment and got to enjoy the crowd's adulation and praise, why shouldn't these people? They deserve it far more.

  • Comment number 39.

    I fully agree with #38. That is an excellent suggestion. Not only will those athletes cheated out of a medal get their moment in the spotlight, an opportunity for the world to show appreciation for that individual's talent, the spotlight will inadvertantly also be brought back upon the actual cheats who shamed the sport of athletics in the first place. Reminding everyone who is a cheat in such a manner might sound rather medieval, but it might deter other athletes from going down the same path. http://www.loserscomesecond.com/

  • Comment number 40.

    Excellent article. I've long been sitting on the fence with the issue of what to do with known drugs cheats. The whole Dwain Chambers issue made me question whether we should pursue a punitive or rehabilitative road.

    In everyday life, I had always argued that our criminal justice system is about rehabilitation, and so I always leant more towards sympathy for Chambers, especially in light of his public contrition.

    However, one must look at the justice for the injured party. In this case, Ty Washington has been stripped of so much that he deserves, stuff that he can never get back.

    I've thus reviewed my opinion and believe that if you cheat, you get banned for life.

  • Comment number 41.

    Firstly to Washington, accept my sincere sympathy for your losses. To those who feel cheating pays, i say shame on you. I pray someone will one day realise how much harm they are doing to the sport by not rewarding the real athletes when it's been confirmed that they deserve their victories.

    I always bellieve there is always a first time to everything. Will someone out there make an example of Washington by calculating all that he lost and pay him back.

    This I believe will be a source of encouragement to upcoming athletes who believe that as long as they stay clean they will be rewarded no matter how long it takes.

    To Tom Fordyce, thanks for the blog, good piece.

  • Comment number 42.

    I'm in two minds about this.

    Yes I can see that Tyree was cheated out of the medals and more importantly (it sounds like) the money and it's not right. But on the other hand, he's not exactly starving is he.

    Success in sport is something that many of us will never know. He has been to many countries and had many experiences. To say that "I'm embarrassed to have run for the United States" is a bit over the top, seeing as he's still gained so much from doing it, even without the medals.

    I'm glad he's in the record books as the winner and he's been given his medal, but making a big show of giving it too him will surely not make up for missing out in the first place?

  • Comment number 43.

    Great read Tom - I really wish Tyree well in gaining recognition he fully deserved.
    I remember watching this guy and loved his elegant running style and headband - he seemed so laid back - almost "too cool for school" and remembered looking out for him more than the rest of the outstandingly talented American 400 metre runners of his era.
    Until now I never knew the extent of his story and assumed after finding out about the doping cases that if one was caught doping then possibly the whole team were at it and therefore all could be partially to blame too - only the rest of them covered their tracks better.
    To be the top of your field in a sport like track athletics you obviously make sacrifices and one would hope those don't involve taking illegal performance enhancers but many hours away from your family and loved ones - those sacrifices are usually worth while considering the recognition, pride and financial benefits received afterwards - Tyree sadly was short-changed on all counts.

  • Comment number 44.

    Brilliant article, one of the best blog reads the site has ever done

  • Comment number 45.

    Hang on a bit - the international organization is refusing to give 30 000 pounds to Mr Washington until they get it from that other bloke whom they admit can't pay it? They don't have 30 000 pounds in their coffers? What a bunch of rhinos. Nice job Beeb, for helping getting his medal - amazing how a little media spotlight can speed up red tape.

    Great story. I'm rather worried by how many clean athletes in a similar position are now even worse off than Mr Washington. Are any living on the streets, like some former boxers?

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    IT ALLWAYS HAPPENS LITTLE COUNTRY TESTS BIG COUNTRY AND TESTS ARE WRONG . 100000000000000000000000000000% DRUG CHEAT NO ARGUMENT

  • Comment number 48.

    THE MODERATOR DOES NOT REMOVE THE MESSAGE THAT SAYS D MODHAL Was not a cheat but removes one that says she was... found to be a cheat then a cheat until proven otherwise

  • Comment number 49.

    What a great slant on the athletics scene. I used to be a top college sprinter but never thought of the cheating angle this way until now.

    However, wouldn't it be easier if all athletes, had to pass their two drug tests prior to the event!

    If the drug testers can't get their acts together in time and test one and all before the finals, then they would be too late and the result would stand. Or is that thinking just too naive and too simple for the drug testing companies to live up to?

    There will always be cheats, be it in football, athletics, cycling, motor racing, etc, etc. It's part of the game. Get caught and you miss out. Get away with it once maybe, but twice or more, doubtful.

    Stripping people of medals and titles after the event is wrong. The onus, IMHO, should be with the organizing body to make sure that the finalists have all been tested, and passed, before the gun goes. It's just these sporting bodies doing a poor job, though lack of resources, lack of time, poor time management, that reflects badly on sport. They then blame the athletes, their coaches, the local branch of Boots etc, for an athlete failing a test, be it an innocent mistake from taking a cough medicine, to out and out body building of beta blockers, or aspirins or pain killers, etc. It's always the athletes fault, and never these drug testing companies!

    Great job on the research and I wish Mr. Washington well and I hope that he and all other 'new; medal winners, get their day; better later than never, just as with the England 1966 Word Cup squad.

    I remember watching Ben Johnson winning the 100 meters. It was electrifying. Being stripped of his medal and others being given the updated medals just devalued the whole event. If the drug testers had got their fingers out and tested prior to the event, this may never have happened. That was back in 1988 and twenty years later the drug testers still can't get their results out prior to a race! Pathetic.

    But just IMHO!

  • Comment number 50.

    Well done Tom,
    Fantastic story that i might not have known if you hadnt published it.I was and am such a great follower of track athletics, but its the athletes who have passed on from our tv views that we forget about.The likes of Wilson Kipketer and Daniel Komen spring to mind of the where are they now brigade?

    Its sad to say but Jerome Young looked out of his eyeballs in that race,and especially at the end.More talented athletes like le Shawn Merrit and Jeremy Wariner are clearly working hard over that last twenty.

    I believe that USATF should chase down the likes of Marion Jones,Mo Greene and Justin Gatlin,Tim Montgomery and sell off assets to pay the likes of Tyrese.They are all guilty of cheating the system and should face stricter financial punishment.

    Im more saddened by this,when i looked up on my bookshelf to see Marion Jones book 'See how i run' looking down at me.It used to be in the autobiography section in book stores but hopefully has now made its way to the fiction section.

  • Comment number 51.

    elvisinspain: just to let you know that alot of the drug testers only find out about the latest stuff in the few weeks before the games or championships,you can only test for things that you know exist,ala Balco and that whole sorry mess.There should always be post event bans and medal stripping and far from devaluing the sport,it shows how intent the organisers are in cleaning it up.The athlete is at total fault for whatever they put into their body...100%
    Il say again,you can only test for what you know exists at that current time.No doubt there are synthetic drugs that are undetectable that are responsible for records that may currently stand but we dont know until someone grasses like BALCO.
    Take a pin...go to a hay stack.....

  • Comment number 52.

    He should get his medal and is getting it at last. Agree that they could arrange something in Berlin for him and others.

    As for the money, I also detest the American litigation society but this is a case where it is absolutely justified. Jerome has cheated him out of the money and he should go after him. The £30,000 for definite but perhaps some of the loss of sponsorship but to some extent that is hard-luck. Actually I even wonder if criminal charges or compensation are possible here. Jerome has taken the money under false pretences and that is a crime quite frankly. If he can't pay then lock him up. Won't help Washington much mind.

  • Comment number 53.

    #50, Montgomery, Gatlin and Jones maybe but I'm pretty sure Maurice Greene never tested positive or took banned substances

  • Comment number 54.

    Tyree Washington will always be the 2003 400m World Champion in my eyes and i cannot bring myself to mention the names of the doping athletes as they do not deserve to be named in the same breath as Tyree. I think that the new measures in place are good but i agree with someone who commented that athletes should provide samples before any major championship and not after. We need to take away the possibility of a doping athlete from crossing the line first and from standing on top of the podium. These are the two main things which drive them to commit the offence in the first place.

    I for one am looking forward to this summers athletics and the performances of the Jamaican mens and womans teams as well as our very own Christine, Jess and Phillips.

    As a huge fan of athletics i think its important that we focus on the great achievements of athletes and deal with the cheats as strongly as we can, including criminal prosecution for fraud.

  • Comment number 55.

    Tom, superb article, well written, concise and extremely interesting. Congratulations!

  • Comment number 56.

    He is bitter. But he should know that it's not the USTAF or the IAAF's fault. It should be Young that he should go after and I hope the law can help him.

  • Comment number 57.

    Re: 37 ChrisCommenter wrote: "A quick check..."

    Well, there's your problem. It was a quick check (and probably on Wikipedia). A quick bit of logic shows it's out of date. A *retired* sprinter isn't coached by anyone. A quick check by me following that shows that he was coached by Pettigrew in 2003, but Pettigrew wasn't found to be a drugs cheat until 2008.

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    I can understand Washington's frustrations. The problem is so many Americans were on drugs that they are hardly trusted. Pity the clean ones end up suffering for the dirty ones. Unfortunately, what he has lost in terms of income will not be recoverable but the best of luck to him

  • Comment number 60.

    Can someone please clarify if Great Britain are now to be made the 1997 World 4x400m relay champions, as previous silver medallists, if the Americans have been stripped of the gold?

  • Comment number 61.

    Love the story, yes sad, but atleast we see the other side and the havoc the culture of drug cheats can do. The USA Track & Field endored a culture that allowed drug cheats such as Carl Lewis and Flo Jo and many others to florish while at the expense of clean and hard working athletes.
    You would hope USATF would have done more to clean up their own backyard, unfortunately little was done or is in place to dissuate drug use.

  • Comment number 62.

    Love this , I am a former U.S. athlete and a friend of Tyree's. I am happy to see that his story is being told. I have a two hour video of his story being edited now.

 

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