Monday, May 19, 2008

The Marion Jones / Georgia Tech Connection

Many of you know that Derrick Adkins was a track superstar on the national scene after his time at Georgia Tech. He won a gold medal in the 400m hurdles at the 1996 Summer Olympics in the ATL.

Many of you also know about the Marion Jones controversy. Turns out there is a tie between them, although not one that's going to end in scandal for Adkins.

The New York Daily News has a story showing the ties. Turns out after his gold medal win, two young track hopefuls came to Adkins for advice, as they were looking for a coach. His coach, Grover Hinsdale (former GT head track coach), apparently only worked with Georgia Tech graduates, so that was out. Adkins recommended a guy named Trevor Graham, whom he thought was a clean coach at the time. Graham had approached Adkins in the past with a proposition to break the world record in the 400m hurdles. Adkins stuck with his own coach at the time, but did pass along the name to the two young hopefuls.

Once the rumors started about Graham, Adkins stopped recommending him. Turns out Graham's star pupils were Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery. Jones is now in jail and Montgomery is on his way. All other runners involved with Graham are now tained as well, including the two that Adkins sent his way. Both are going to testify against Graham in a trial in California.

"I didn't know that Trevor was a dirty coach, and I'm still not sure about
his guilt or innocence," Adkins says. "Duane and Jerome probably think I'm a
drug guy now."

I don't know about you, but I don't think much of the track-and-field or cycling sports these days. I know there are thousands of clean athletes, but there's just been too much corruption at the highest levels for me to get into it any more. Frankly, I feel the same way about baseball. Ever since the 2nd player strike and the steroid scandal, I just lost most of my interest. I don't watch games any more. I don't hardly go to them.

Sure am glad that Adkins decided to stick with his coach and not switch to Graham. I hate that he recommended a tainted guy, but nobody had to stick with the guy once the truth was found out. I guess we all have to make our choices.