Originally created 08/04/06

USOC bans coach from training sites



COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The U.S. Olympic Committee banned track coach Trevor Graham from its training centers and training sites Thursday.

Chairman Peter Ueberroth made the announcement in a conference call and said the ban was "permanent."

"If there's something that convinces us to change our position, we'll look at it at a future time," he said.

Graham coaches sprinter Justin Gatlin, who recently disclosed a positive test for testosterone or other steroids. He has been involved with at least a half-dozen athletes who have received drug suspensions.

In June 2003, Graham helped launch the federal investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative by anonymously mailing a syringe, which contained a previously undetectable steroid, to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

Graham refused to comment on the ban.

Ueberroth said the extraordinary action was "based on the unusual number of athletes he has coached who have been convicted of doping offenses."

Thursday's announcement marks something of a shift in focus for the USOC, which spent years in the wake of scandal and reorganization trying to reallocate resources toward athletes to help their performance on the field.

After positive doping tests involving Gatlin and Tour de France winner and American cyclist Floyd Landis over the past week, the USOC's new talking point is not just about winning, but winning fairly.

"If we don't participate with honor and dignity, then what we do means nothing," CEO Jim Scherr said. "If there's cheating, then it's cheating other athletes, the American public and cheating the world of the legitimacy of sports."

Graham has been squarely in the aim of the USOC, which has been looking for ways to penalize coaches, agents and trainers who influence athletes with positive doping tests.

Before Thursday's announcement, officials with the final Golden League meet in Berlin barred any athletes linked to Graham from the Sept. 3 event. Five-time Olympic medalist Marion Jones, Olympic 200-meter champion Shawn Crawford and sprinter Dwight Thomas are among the athletes excluded.

CYCLING: Dehydration is the latest possible reason offered for Tour de France winner Floyd Landis' elevated testosterone levels.

"Maybe a combination of dehydration, maximum effort," Jose Maria Buxeda, the cyclist's lawyer, said Thursday after testing began on his backup sample.

That theory was flatly rejected by one of the world's top anti-doping officials.

"In 25 years of experience of testing ... such a huge increase in the level of testosterone cannot be accepted to come from any natural factors," said Christiane Ayotte, director of Montreal's anti-doping laboratory.

"If dehydration was the case, then marathon runners would be testing positive all the time. Tennis players would be testing positive all the time. It has been invoked in the past, but not one case - to my knowledge - has been successful in this argument."

The cyclist and his defense team have offered varying explanations, including cortisone shots taken for pain in Landis' degenerating hip; drinking beer and whiskey the night before; thyroid medication; and his natural metabolism.

The latest theory - dehydration - appears to contrast with events. Landis pushed ahead at the 45-mile mark July 20 and rode the rest of the stage alone, which he later called an "advantage" because he was constantly near his team's car and the liquids it carried.