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July 15, 2013

Big names in track fail test for banned substances

(Continued)

WASHINGTON — Generally, first-time offenders are hit with two-year bans, though reduced penalties are sometimes given if there are extenuating circumstances, which both Gay and his coach, Lance Brauman, said there were.

"He mentioned that he (trusted) someone and that person was untrustworthy at the end the day," Brauman told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "Maybe I'm naive, but I believe him."

Max Siegel, the CEO of USA Track and Field, said in a statement: "It is not the news anyone wanted to hear, at any time, about any athlete." He said he looked to USADA to handle the case "appropriately."

While Gay's case gets sorted out on U.S. turf, the positives recorded by Powell and Simpson are part of a bigger doping crisis hitting Jamaica, the home of Bolt and the country that has won 28 medals over the last three Olympics.

In Sunday's editions, The Gleaner newspaper of Jamaica reported that five athletes had tested positive. Paul Doyle, the agent who represents Powell and Simpson, confirmed to the AP that his sprinters were among them. Shortly after Doyle's confirmation, Powell and Simpson each released statements acknowledging the positive tests.

The news stirred up angst on the island, where success on the track is a point of pride, but the rigor of the country's anti-doping program is under constant scrutiny.

"This does not augur well for track and field globally," said Rashalee Mitchell, a 29-year-old assistant social sciences lecturer at Jamaica's campus of the University of the West Indies. "It is fast serving to taint ... our proud and long-standing reputation of producing strong, excellent, raw, homegrown talent that has excelled on the world stage without any drug-related enhancement."

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