ATHENS - Trevor Graham, who has coached some of the world's best sprinters from his training base in Raleigh, N.C., acknowledged last night that he triggered the biggest drug scandal in track and field history by sending a syringe containing a previously undetected steroid to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
He made the revelation in response to a question from a reporter after one of Graham's sprinters, Justin Gatlin, became the surprise winner in the Olympic 100 meters.
Asked whether he believed Gatlin would have won if he, Graham, hadn't supplied the syringe, the coach said: "I can't predict what would have happened. I don't know."
As for his motivation, he said: "I was just a coach doing the right thing at that time."
He added he has no regrets.
Gatlin competed last night against some of the world's best sprinters. Not among them was Tim Montgomery, the world-record holder who has become engulfed in the scandal. He is absent from the Games.
Graham had been identified in a newspaper report as the source of the syringe, but he had not commented on his role until last night.
USADA sent the syringe in June of last year to a Los Angeles laboratory, where the substance was identified as the banned steroid tetrahydrogestrinone (THG).
An ensuing grand jury investigation into San Francisco-area laboratory BALCO, which allegedly supplied the steroid to athletes, has cast a cloud over some of the sport's best, including Montgomery and Marion Jones.
Four other elite U.S. athletes tested positive for THG and another, world champion sprinter Kelli White, accepted a suspension from USADA after admitting she used drugs.
Graham coached Jones when she won three gold medals, a silver and a bronze in Sydney in 2000. In November of that year, according to the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, Graham and BALCO founder Victor Conte were among five men who devised "Project World Record," with the goal of turning Montgomery into the world's fastest man. He set the world record two years later.
But Jones and Montgomery later left Graham, with Jones saying he wasn't an adequate coach for her. Jones qualified for the Athens Olympics only in the long jump, although she might also run a sprint relay. Montgomery did not qualify.
Speculation within the sport has been that Graham supplied the syringe to USADA out of revenge. He would not answer questions last night about Montgomery or Jones.