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SPIEGEL: Testosterone, growth hormone, epo – that was your combination?
Heredia: Yes, with individual variations. And then amazing things are possible. In 2002 Jerome Young was ranked number 38 in the 400 meters. Then we began to work together, and in 2003 he won almost every big race.
SPIEGEL: How were you paid?
Heredia: I had an annual wage. For big wins I got a $40,000 bonus.
SPIEGEL: Your athletes have won 26 Olympic medals. How much money did you earn?
Heredia: I can’t answer that due to the investigations. But let’s put it this way: 16 to 18 successful athletes each year at between $15,000 and $20,000 per athlete. I had a good run. I had a good life.
SPIEGEL: Did you live in the shadows of the sports world, where no one was allowed to see you?
Heredia: No. I rarely traveled to the big events, but that was because of jealousy: the Americans didn’t want me to work with the Jamaicans and vice versa. But shadows? No. It was one big chain, from athletes to agents to sponsors, and I was part of it. But everyone knew how the game worked. Everyone wanted it to be this way, because everyone got rich off it.
SPIEGEL: Which agents do you mean?
Heredia: The big marketers – Robert Wagner, for example – who support the athletes and want to get them into top form because they place the athletes at the track meetings.
The Austrian marketer Wagner, founder of World Athletics Management, wrote last Thursday in an e-mail to SPIEGEL, that he “never doped athletes” or “supported and promoted” doping. And Angel Heredia, the chief witness, sat in an office in New York, an athletic man in a black shirt, still in excellent shape, and wrote down names on a sheet of paper. 41 track and field athletes, he said, were his clients, as well as boxers, soccer players and cross-country skiers. His Jamaicans: Raymond Stewart, Beverly McDonald, Brandon Simpson. From the Bahamas: Chandra Sturrup. A couple of his Americans: Jerome Young, Antonio Pettigrew, Tim Montgomery, Duane Ross, Michelle Collins, Marion Jones, C. J. Hunter, Ramon Clay, Dennis Mitchell, Joshua J. Johnson, Randall Evans, Justin Gatlin, Maurice Greene. Some of those named by Heredia have been caught doping. Others have admitted to doping, while still others deny it.
SPIEGEL: Maurice Greene? The 100 meter superstar Greene is one of the poster athletes of the Olympic movement; he swears he is clean.
Heredia: The investigations are ongoing, but if he maintains he is clean, I can only answer that that is a lie.
SPIEGEL: Can you be more specific?
Heredia: I helped him. I made a schedule for him. I equipped him.
Heredia: Yes, we worked together in 2003 and 2004.
SPIEGEL: Do you have receipts?
Heredia: Yes, I have a $10,000 bank transfer receipt, for example.
SPIEGEL: Greene says he spent that money on friends.
Heredia: I know that’s not true.
SPIEGEL: What did Greene, who denies having doped, get from you?
Heredia: IGF-1 and IGF-2, epo and ATP – that stands for adenosine triphosphate, which intensifies muscle contraction.
SPIEGEL: Undetectable for testers?
Heredia: Undetectable. We’ve used ointments that do not leave any traces and that enable a consistently high testosterone level in athletes.
SPIEGEL: Is there doping at every level of athletics?
Heredia: Yes, the only difference is the quality of the doping. Athletes with little money use simple steroids and hope they don’t get tested. The stars earn 50,000 dollars a month, not including starting bonuses and shoe sponsorship contracts. The very best invest 100,000 dollars – I’ll then build you a designer drug that can’t be detected.
SPIEGEL: Explain how this works.
Heredia: Designer drugs are composed of several different chemicals that trigger the desired reaction. At the end of the chain I change one or two molecules in such a way that the entire structure is undetectable for the doping testers.
SPIEGEL: The drug testers’ hunt of athletes ...
Heredia: ... is also a sport. A competition. Pure adrenaline. We have to be one or two years ahead of them. We have to know which drug is entering research where, which animals it is being used in, and where we can get it. And we have to be familiar with the testers’ methods.
SPIEGEL: Can the testers win this race?
Heredia: Theoretically yes. If all federations and sponsors and managers and athletes and trainers were all in agreement, if they were to invest all the money that the sport generates and if every athlete were to be tested twice a week – but only then. What’s happening now is laughable. It’s a token. They should save their money – or give it to me. I’ll give it to the orphans of Mexico! There will be doping for as long as there is commercial sports, performance-related shoe contracts and television contracts.
4. Teil: “Peak performances without doping are a fairytale.”
SPIEGEL: So the idea that sports are a fair competition within established rules actually died long ago?
Heredia: Yes, of course. Unless we were to go back to ancient times. Without television, without Adidas and Nike. It’s obvious: if you finish in 8th place at a big event, you get $5,000; if you finish first you get $100,000. Athletes think about this. Then they think that everyone else dopes anyway, and they are right. And you think athletes believe in morals and ideals? Peak performances without doping are a fairytale, my friend.
SPIEGEL: Do you advocate the authorization of doping?
Heredia: No, but I believe we should authorize the use of epo, IGF and testosterone, as well as adrenaline and epitestosterone – substances that the body produces itself. Simply for pragmatic reasons, because it is impossible to detect them, and also because of the fairness aspect.
SPIEGEL: Are you serious: fairness?
Heredia: Yes. Take for example the most popular drug: epo. Epo changes the hemoglobin value, and it is simply the case that people have different hemoglobin levels. Authorizing the use of epo would enable the fairness and equality that supposedly everyone wants. After all, there are genetic differences between athletes.
SPIEGEL: Differences between living things are called nature. You want to make all athletes the same through doping?
Heredia: Normal athletes have a level of 3 nanograms of testosterone per milliliter of blood; the sprinter Tim Montgomery has 3 nanograms, but Maurice Greene has 9 nanograms. So what can Tim do? It isn’t doping with endogenous substances that’s unfair, it is nature that’s unfair.
SPIEGEL: And what would you ban?
Heredia: Everything else that can be dangerous. Amphetamines? Ban them. Steroids? Ban them.
SPIEGEL: Are there still any clean disciplines?
Heredia: Track and field, swimming, cross-country skiing and cycling can no longer be saved. Golf? Not clean either. Soccer? Soccer players come to me and say they have to be able to run up and down the touchline without becoming tired, and they have to play every three days. Basketball players take fat burners – amphetamines, ephedrin. Baseball? Haha. Steroids in pre-season, amphetamines during the games. Even archers take downers so that their arm remains steady. Everyone dopes.
SPIEGEL: Did you produce the drugs yourself, or did you simply procure them?
Heredia: I didn’t have my own laboratory, I had… let’s say access to labs in Mexico City. I purchased and procured the raw materials ...
SPIEGEL: ... from where?
Heredia: Everywhere. Australia, South Africa, Austria, Bulgaria, China. I got growth hormone from the Swiss company Serono. It was never difficult to import it to Mexico, because the laws aren’t that strict. You can easily buy it in pharmacies in Mexico. Whenever a new drug was entering the test phase somewhere in the world, we knew about it and we ordered it. Then I combined substances. Sometimes I produced a gel.
SPIEGEL: Did you ever take the doping testers seriously?
Heredia: No, we laughed at them. Today, of course, it is the testers who are laughing.
SPIEGEL: How do you make a living today?
Heredia: I still have a little bit of money. I’m studying again. I want to become a pharmacist. That’s my dream, but I don’t know if I’ll find a job, if I will be charged, if I will be deported, or where I’ll go. I don’t have a life anymore. I walk around and make sure no one is following me. But compared to Jerome Young I’m doing okay.
SPIEGEL: What is the 2003 world champion doing today?
Heredia: He’s 31 years old, and he sits in a truck and delivers bread. People say he broke the laws of the sport, but that’s not true: it was exactly these rules that Jerome followed.