Gatlin Masseur Denies Using Testosterone

The Associated Press
Thursday, August 3, 2006; 5:11 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A massage therapist drawn into the Justin Gatlin doping scandal denied an accusation that he rubbed testosterone cream on the sprinter's body to trip a positive drug test.

Gatlin's coach, Trevor Graham, said the world-record holder tested positive after a vengeful massage therapist used testosterone cream on him without his knowledge. In an Italian newspaper, Graham identified the massage therapist as Christopher Whetstine, who worked with Olympian Marion Jones and other elite athletes.

Gatlin faces a lifetime ban after failing a drug test in April following a track meet in Lawrence, Kan.

"Trevor Graham is not speaking on behalf of Justin Gatlin, and the statement about me is not true," Whetstine said Wednesday in a statement read over the phone by his attorney, Elizabeth Baker. "I have fully cooperated with the investigation into this matter."

Baker said Whetstine, who is under contract with Nike, denies using a banned substance on Gatlin or "any other athlete."

Gatlin, the co-world-record holder in the 100 meters, acknowledged last weekend that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency informed him of a test indicating he had used testosterone or other steroids after a relay race in Kansas in April.

Gatlin has said he didn't know how steroids got into his system, and his attorney has distanced the runner from the comment by Graham, who has been involved with at least a half-dozen athletes who have received drug suspensions.

Over the years, Whetstine's clients have included entertainer Sean "Diddy" Combs, golfer Ben Crane and three of Graham's athletes _ Jones, Gatlin and sprinter Shawn Crawford, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist in the 200 meters.

Whetstine worked with Jones from 1998-2001 and was her masseur for the Sydney Olympics, where she won five medals, including three gold. Jones, who no longer trains with Graham, also has been dogged by doping allegations but has denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

Jones' ex-husband, shot-putter C.J. Hunter, said through attorney Angela DeMent that he has not had contact with Whetstine since 2000. However, Hunter, who retired from the sport after testing positive four times for steroids in 2000, did praise Whetstine as a massage therapist, DeMent said.

Whetstine also has provided his services for Nike-sponsored athletes at various events, said Dean Stoyer, a Nike spokesman, who wouldn't reveal the length of Whetstine's contract or other details.

"We won't speak to the allegations made by Trevor Graham," or any other aspects of the matter, Stoyer said.

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