TAC Wants Astaphan to Name U.S. Athletes
The Athletics Congress, which governs track and field in the United States, has asked Ben Johnson’s physician to name American athletes who received anabolic steroids and other banned substances from him.
Dr. Jamie Astaphan recently told a French sports newspaper, L’Equipe, that he has a list of athletes he supplied with drugs and would “name names” when called to testify in either late April or early May before the Canadian government’s commission of inquiry into drug use by athletes.
“If there are American athletes named, we want to see Astaphan’s list,” TAC’s executive director, Ollan Cassell, told the Associated Press from his Indianapolis office. “If we’re going to nail the drug users, we need real evidence, not just words.
“So far, neither Astaphan nor anyone else has provided anything substantial. If he’s got something, we want it. Otherwise, we have to regard him as nothing more than a cheater who got caught by the system and is now trying to wiggle out of it by muddying the waters.”
Astaphan, who lives on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, also was central to testimony at the Canadian hearings, which resumed in Toronto Monday after a two-week recess.
Tim Bethune, a former Canadian sprinter, provided further evidence indicating that Astaphan might have treated Johnson with the anabolic steroid stanozolol. Johnson was disqualified after winning the 100 meters in the Summer Olympics at Seoul after traces of stanozolol were discovered in his system.
In previous testimony, Johnson’s coach, Charlie Francis, said that Johnson used another anabolic steroid up to 22 days before the 100-meter final at Seoul and speculated that the sprinter’s positive test for stanozolol was the result of sabotage.
But Angella Taylor Issajenko, another Canadian sprinter coached by Francis, suggested in later testimony that Astaphan had given stanozolol to her and other athletes, including Johnson, but called it by a different name.
In his testimony Monday, Bethune said that he asked Astaphan in September, 1985, to put him “on Ben’s program.”
He said that Astaphan, who had a Toronto office at the time, injected him with human growth hormone and emptied a bottle of pink pills into a white envelope, instructing him to take them over the course of a week. Bethune said the process was repeated during weekly visits for the next five months.
After one visit, Bethune said, he retrieved from the garbage can the empty bottle that had contained the pink pills.
“It said: ‘Winstrol-V--For Veterinary use only,’ ” Bethune said.
Winstrol-V is a brand name for stanozolol.
The first athlete to testify Monday, Tony Sharpe, another former sprinter, said that he became aware of steroid use in track and field in August, 1980, while on a track scholarship at Clemson University in South Carolina.
“I saw it around,” he said. “I didn’t really see anyone using it. It was talked about.”
Sharpe said that he began using steroids a year later, after returning to Toronto to train under Francis.
“It was my belief all along and all through my career that it would take some help (to compete at a world-class level), and that meant steroids,” he said. “A high percentage of world-class sprinters are steroid users. No one’s going to say, ‘I use them,’ but we were all clean until tested positive.”
He said that he does not believe athletes can be deterred from using the drugs.