Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Michael Johnson to Return Gold Medal

Michael Johnson has decided to return the gold medal that he won along with his teammates in the 1,600 meter relay from the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. In a column he wrote for the Daily Telegraph, Johnson was "shocked" to learn Antonio Pettigrew, someone he considered a friend, used PED's from 1997 to 2001.

When Jerome Young tested positive for PED's in 1999, Pettigrew and Johnson discussed whether to give back the medals. Since Young was exonerated, Pettigrew convinced Johnson that they were in the right to keep their medals, even though Pettigrew "was guilty and the medal was tainted anyway."

Johnson has "been naive," but does not buy the excuses everyone needs to use PED's in order to compete because everyone else is using and that coaches are pressuring athletes to use PED's.

Johnson supports the crop of new stars: Jeremy Wariner, Allyson Felix, Tyson Gay, Christine Ohuruogu, Usain Bolt (current WFM) and Asafa Powell, but can understand how the public can be skeptical of their performance. Many of the athletes who admitted to using PED's never tested positive.

As I speculated in a previous post, when three of the four runners in the finals have admitted to using PED's, there are only three possibilities regarding the fourth: he was using, he didn't know or he knew, but took the high road and raced clean.

As for Pettigrew, is he out of the hospital yet? Johnson threw him under the bus! By taking the high road, Johnson forced Pettigrew to give up his medal. If Johnson didn't do the right thing now and return the medal, when would he?

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