Sins of a Father (cont)
Posted: Tuesday January 15, 2008 10:22AM; Updated: Tuesday January 15, 2008 2:12PM
Corey would be homeschooled, first by a teacher and then on-line, and deprived of a conventional childhood, but Jim was sure that the sacrifices were worth it. The growing in-line skating community believed that the emerging sport would soon be featured in the Olympic Games. But even if not, Corey could always follow the path of other in-liners such as Olympic gold medalists Apolo Ohno and Chad Hedrick, trading in his rubber wheels for metal blades to pursue his Olympic dreams in speedskating on ice. The Gahans had little financial incentive to move to Florida -- there is no U.S. professional circuit for in-line skaters -- but Jim didn't care. He had made money in an assortment of businesses, including importing champagne. "Every parent wants their kid to be the best," says Jim, "but every kid wants to be the best."
In keeping with a recurring theme, Jim had a falling out with Corey's coach, and he hired Phillip Pavicic, a bodybuilder and gym manager, to work with his son. Early in the relationship Jim and Pavicic mapped out a training strategy for Corey, then 12. Jim says it was at this point that Pavicic recommended performance-enhancing drugs. (Pavicic declined repeated interview requests from SI.) "Corey and I sat down, had a little talk, and he said he wanted to do it," recalls Jim, 41. "I said all right."
There's disagreement about who administered the shots: Corey says his dad and Pavicic injected him, Jim accuses Pavicic and, through his lawyer, Pavicic points the finger back at Jim. Regardless, there's no dispute among the three principals on this: 12-year-old Corey was placed on a heavy-duty regimen of HgH and steroids.
Almost immediately after the cycle began, the contours of Corey's body changed. But the effects went beyond bigger biceps and calves. Shortly after his 13th birthday in May '02, Corey returned home one afternoon feeling wobbly and paranoid. He vomited multiple times. "I think I crashed on a cycle really hard," he recalls. In the aftermath of this episode, Pavicic took Corey to see John Todd Miller, a Tampa man representing himself as a doctor. According to court documents, Miller ordered blood work on Corey and found that the kid had more than 20 times the normal level of testosterone for an adult male. Nonetheless, the documents show, Miller would later begin providing testosterone to Corey. (Miller did not return calls seeking comment.)
Whatever ambivalence Corey may have had about injecting steroids, he says it dissipated when he first visited Miller. Hanging alongside various diplomas suggesting that Miller was a doctor -- he, in fact, was not -- were framed photos of prominent athletes from a variety of sports who, Corey assumed, were all seeing Miller. Corey did a double take one day when he saw 420-pound Paul Wight, better known by his WWE stage name, the Big Show. (In October 2003 Wight told Hillsborough County investigators that he received steroids and the painkiller Nubain from Miller.) "Wow, what's going on?" Corey recalls wondering. "Is [this] really how everyone does it?"
The Big Show had company. On a sign-in sheet from Aug. 27, 2002, obtained by SI, Corey's name appears between that of Randy Poffo (a.k.a. the since-retired professional wrestler Macho Man Randy Savage) and that of the late wrestler Brian Adams (a.k.a. Crush). SI also obtained invoices and receipts for drugs from Miller's clinic, signed by Poffo, who could not be reached for comment. Records indicate that other Miller clients included former major league pitcher Anthony Telford, who admitted to investigators that he had purchased testosterone from Miller, and late WWE wrestlers Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero, who was paying Miller $300 to $400 a week for testosterone and HgH. As one investigator told The Palm Beach Post in October, Miller was "the Victor Conte of professional wrestling."