Two Olympic track and field medalists are squaring off over doping allegations. Jon Drummond, a gold medalist in the 2000 Olympics and a former U.S. Track and Field coach, is suing both sprinter Tyson Gay and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for defamation.
Drummond coached a number of elite athletes, including Tyson Gay, from 2007-2012. Tyson Gay competed in the London 2012 Olympics, and then stopped training with Drummond. Gay tested positive for banned substances in 2013, a year after he stopped training with Drummond.
The facts in this case are in dispute. The parties have differing accounts of a 2012 visit to an Atlanta-area chiropractor, in which Gay received supplements, including creams, to alleviate chronic injuries. The chiropractor allegedly told Drummond that there were no banned substances in the creams. The chiropractor shipped $9,000 worth of the products to Gay at the training facility in Oregon, although Drummond claims that he told Gay not to use them because he allegedly questioned their safety and efficacy. Drummond then claims that on a 2012 trip to a competition in Monaco, Drummond threw the products in the trash, and told Gay to get rid of the remainder in his possession.
In 2013, more than a year after the London Olympics, Gay tested positive for a banned substance. During Gay’s testimony to USADA officials, Gay claimed that Drummond had injected him with human growth hormone. Gay received a three-month ban from the USADA for his cooperation with the investigation, a much lighter sentence than he would have otherwise. Drummond was notified by the USADA that the governing body is beginning an investigation, and that the agency intends to seek a lifetime ban against the coach.
Drummond filed the suit in Tarrant (Texas) County Civil Court in late May, alleging that Tyson Gay falsely accused Drummond of doping charges in order to get a lighter sentence from doping regulators, and that those false statements have hurt Drummond’s reputation. Drummond also accuses U.S. Anti-Doping Agency head, Travis Tygartt, of actual malice, which is a tort law requirement to demonstrate libel against a public figure.
With more than 25 years of experience representing professional athletes, individuals and businesses in the areas of sports law, intellectual property, and business litigation, James J. “Jim” Thomas II is recognized as an expert across Georgia. If you or your business needs assistance in sports law, intellectual property, business ventures, handling complex business litigation, or in the analysis, evaluation, and resolution of existing and potential litigation in sports law or intellectual property cases, give Jim a call at 404-869-5248, email him today to set up a consultation, or visit www.litigationatlanta.com online.