Last week before the Memorial Day break, the Trevor Graham BALCO/perjury trial in San Francisco chilled track and field fans as the athletes spun tales of EPO, HGH, and other hormonal PEDs However, one athlete appeared clean above the fray -- Duane Ross. Ross appears notable for two reasons: he ignored the Graham dope pushing, and he didn't win big. The Telegraph tells the story:
Although the charge focuses on his alleged dealings with Heredia, five of Graham's former athletes testified last week about life inside his camp. They said the regime's pressure to dope was allegedly so intense, it was almost impossible to stay clean. One of the witnesses was Duane Ross
Ross is not one of the star names of athletics. He was what Americans call a "stand-out athlete" as a student, just like Harry, but his best result as a senior was in the 110m hurdles at the 1999 World Championships, where he won bronze. Perhaps that's because he didn't do as he was allegedly told.
Ross said he knew that when the packages of unmarked vials started arriving from an address in Texas to his home in 1998, he was meant to inject them in his buttocks. Instead, he stashed them under his kitchen sink.
Interesting -- Ross did not use everything except the kitchen sink. Other Graham coached athletes like Marion did use plenty of hormonal performance boosters.
Marion Jones and others in the camp were not, according to the evidence in court, so reluctant. Jones's particular tipple was EPO for endurance, human growth hormone (HGH) for strength, and insulin to help the HGH work more efficiently.
Antonio Pettigrew, the 1991 400m world champion, also injected EPO and HGH and was amazed by his "incredible times" in training.
The story leads to Grahams coaching of the young athlete, which included counseling about PEDs he needed to use to lower his time, and to become competitive at an elite level. Graham knew how to beat the dope testers too.
Calls from dope dealer Angel Heredia followed. Packages arrived, that went unopened. As Ross ignored the dope, Graham started ignoring the athletes. No Country for Clean Athletes...original piece continue after the jump.
When Ross joined Graham's Sprint Capitol Group in Raleigh, North Carolina, in early 1998, he was 26 years old and dreaming of winning the Olympics. He thought that meant working hard on the practice track and in the weights room.
Ross told the court that a few months after arriving, Graham took him to one side. Graham's relationship with his athletes, he said, was one of control.
"If you weren't in line with what was going on in that camp you were pretty much an outcast," said Ross. "You were pretty much on your own."
He added: "The gist of the conversation was that if you really want to get strong at track and field, there are things you have to do." Those things meant taking testosterone.
"I believe the conversation ended with him telling me where to get it and how much it was," said Ross. "I remember it was pretty expensive but if I wanted to run fast, this is what I needed."
After his talking-to by Graham, what gave him pause was a fear of getting caught.
He said he told Graham that he did not want to test positive so early in his career but Graham reassured him. "He said I wouldn't be tested anytime soon because I wasn't a top 50 athlete." And besides, the drug would clear from his system within a few days.
A few weeks later Ross said he received a phone call out of the blue from Heredia. Ross had no idea who he was but was told he was "Trevor's guy" and that Graham had given him Ross' home number. Heredia just wanted to say hello. There was no mention of drugs.
Worried by the call, Ross rang Graham to ask why he had given out his number. Graham told him not to worry. "He's cool," he said.
More phone calls from Heredia followed. The talk was mainly about obtaining legal supplements but then the subject of testosterone was allegedly brought up. Ross claimed he asked the Mexican whether it was true that the steroid vanished from the body within a few days. Heredia allegedly told him the clearance period was probably more like two weeks.
He said he declined the testosterone but said he would buy some legal supplements.
The packages started coming but Ross said he was sure he was receiving more than just minerals and vitamins. Some of the substances had Spanish labels, some had no labels at all. "The majority of things were in vials," said Ross. "He was sending extra things."
Ross put much of the stuff under his sink. As the months wore on, Ross said his relationship with Graham deteriorated. He began to feel ignored during training and said Graham lost interest in him to such an extent that he did not even bother to watch his race at a meeting in Europe in 1999. He decided to cut his ties with Graham in 2000.