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Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Antonio Pettigrew RIP

It's emerged in the last few hours that the 1991 World 400m Champion Antonio Pettigrew has died.  Pettigrew was 42 years old, and leaves behind a wife and child.  A drugs overdose is to blame - it's not yet known if that is accidental or otherwise.

Pettigrew was a controversial sprinter, given that he admitted taking performance enhancing drugs.  He handed back the gold medals that he won in the relays at the 1997 and 1999 World Championships, and his transgressions meant the USA were stripped of their 4x400m Gold Medals at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

It's too early to speculate what may have happened Pettigrew - I don't intend to do that here.  What I will say however, is that his untimely and tragic death is reminiscent of those of Marco Pantani, Florence Griffith Joyner and a host of other athletes who have taken drugs to improve the careers, but ultimately lost their lives at a young age.  Performance enhancing drugs, despite distorting competition, are also extremely dangerous to one's health and deaths such as these should be a reminder, as if one were needed, that they must never be tolerated.

I've included a video of Pettigrew in action, the best I can find.  May he rest in peace.


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