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Page last updated at 22:38 GMT, Tuesday, 3 June 2008 23:38 UK

Pettigrew given two-year dope ban

Antonio Pettigrew
A doped-up Pettigrew helped the US claim golds and records

Former US sprinter Antonio Pettigrew has been banned for two years after stating he used prohibited substances.

The 40-year-old, who won gold in the 400m at the 1991 World Championships, admitted doping during last month's trial of former coach Trevor Graham.

Pettigrew used drugs between 1997 and 2001, during which time he won 4x400m relay golds at two World Championships and the Sydney Olympics.

The gold at the 1997 Worlds came at Britain's expense.

The disgraced athlete was part of the US team that beat Roger Black, Iwan Thomas, Jamie Baulch and Mark Richardson into second place in Athens.

Pettigrew, Chris Jones, Tyree Washington and Jerome Young edged out the British quartet by just 0.18 seconds. He also beat Black - by just 0.05 seconds - when he claimed his individual gold in 1991.

His Olympic gold in 2000 came alongside Michael Johnson and brothers Alvin and Calvin Harrison.

The sport's governing body tried to strip the team of their Olympic medals after Young, who was part of the team but did not run in the final, tested positive for drugs in 2004 and was banned for life. The Harrison twins also failed drugs tests in 2004 and were given two-year bans.

Matt Slater
But in 2005 the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld an appeal by US athletics officials to allow the team to keep their medals.

Pettigrew, however, has now voluntarily surrendered his Sydney gold and 1997 and 1999 Worlds medals, and Sydney team-mate Michael Johnson has said he would return his Olympic relay gold.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) also said Pettigrew's competitive results since January 1997 would be annulled.

The decision could lead to the US team losing their 4x400m world record of 2:54.20 set in July 1998. Pettigrew ran the race with Young, Washington and Johnson.

Usada chief executive officer Travis T Tygart: "It takes courage to accept full responsibility for such egregious conduct and hopefully Mr Pettigrew's case will serve as another powerful reminder to young athletes of the importance of competing clean."

Pettigrew retired from racing in 2002 and is currently an assistant coach at the University of North Carolina.

see also
Johnson will return Olympic gold
03 Jun 08 |  Athletics
Graham found guilty in Balco case
29 May 08 |  Athletics
Richardson 'suspected' Pettigrew
23 May 08 |  Athletics
Doped-up Pettigrew denied GB gold
23 May 08 |  Athletics

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