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On Running

Track Star Dies

Antonio Pettigrew found dead in back seat of his car

Stripped: Antonio Pettigrew (left) with Calvin Harrison, Michael Johnson and Alvin Harrison Photo: AP

It is sad to learn when a track star or any athlete dies, but when they die young like Antonio Pettigrew did at 42, it is scary.  Pettigrew was a 10-time All-American at St. Augustine’s who also won two NCAA Division II titles in the 400-meter run and helped the Falcons win two NCAA men’s national championships. Pettigrew was also an Olympic athlete who took home the gold in 1998 only to have that title stripped away for allegations of drug use. He was found in the back seat of his car Tuesday morning in the back seat of his car, parked on a bridge overpass in eastern Chatham County, in South Carolina. My condolences to his family.

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Unfortunately, like others before him like my favorite track star, Marion Jones and  Ben Johnson, Pettigrew’s track career ended in controversy through doping. I always wonder when a star like this dies early if it was due to steriod use earlier in life; when the drug used put strain on the heart. Sometimes I wonder if that catches up to people.

Ben Johnson a sprinter from Canada who had a high profile career during the 1980s, including winning two Olympic bronze medals and a gold. He, like Pettigrew, held world records but was disqualified for doping. Then there was my warrior athlete, Marion Jones, who has medals rescinded due to drug use.  The International Olympic Committee disqualified both American relay teams in the 4x100m and the 4x400m after Jones admitted that she had been using steroids to boost her speed during the years 2000 and 2001.

Ben Johnson was striped of his medals but fought back against allegations of doping.

More on Doping:




  1. Pingback: Antionio Pettigrew’s Tragic Death | Runners Illustrated - August 12, 2010

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