Sins of a Father (cont)
Posted: Tuesday January 15, 2008 10:22AM; Updated: Tuesday January 15, 2008 2:12PM
Seeing Corey's elevated testosterone level, Miller advised him to stop using steroids for a while, then put him on a more controlled cycle. The results were unquestionable. In addition to the added bulk -- within a year, Corey's 5' 5" frame swelled from 120 pounds to 160 -- he was breezing through his workouts and improving his times. "Steroids completely change your mind-set," he says. "They turn you from being an athlete into a monster. A monster in the everyday world is not a good thing, but when you are trying to win a 1,000-meter race against five of the best guys in the world, monster is a great mind-set to have."
Patricia Johnston, a hairdresser, had little contact with her son after he left Michigan. As much as she wanted him to stay home, she knew how much skating meant to him. Whether it was being 1,200 miles apart or, as she believes now, the moodiness caused by the drugs, their relationship chilled. "I remember he used to call every now and then and be very angry, and I couldn't figure it out," she says. Still, she would try to watch him skate in big competitions. When she glimpsed her son at a 2002 meet in Watertown, Wis., she gasped. "I couldn't believe how different he was," she recalls. "I said, 'Wow, you really grew.' He was overly muscular."
Corey says that his relationship with his dad would move in lockstep with his results. When he won, he claims that he was rewarded with televisions, PlayStations and even an American Express gold card. On the rare occasions that he lost, he says, his dad wouldn't speak to him. "We had our bouts because I very much wanted a dad and he wanted a business-type relationship," Corey says. "At a young age it's hard to understand why winning all the time matters so much." The father dismisses this complaint: "I'm not some raging animal standing outside throwing stuff against the wall."
Meanwhile, Jim entered a business partnership with Miller to offer laser hair-removal treatments. The two had a falling out in April 2003, however, and Jim set up his own business in Orlando selling anti-aging drugs, including testosterone and human growth hormone. But first he blew the whistle on Miller, alerting the Hillsborough County sheriff's office that Miller's clinic was a front for illegal steroid distribution and that Miller was providing performance-enhancing drugs to a minor -- Corey. Jim neglected to mention his own complicity.
Not long after, Corey, then 14, left Florida to train with a team in High Point, N.C. He moved in with Tracy Patterson, who had gotten involved with in-line skating through her two children. Patterson's husband and 11-year-old son had recently been killed in an auto accident while returning from a meet. "I was lost and to have Corey in the house was a relief," says Patterson. "He's just an incredible kid, a great guy."
Still, Corey continued his steroid and HgH regimen, locking himself in the bathroom to inject the drugs that his father mailed to him. To help get through his workouts, Corey says he was supplementing his performance-enhancing drugs with painkillers, particularly Nubain, procured through a Florida doctor. "When you are jamming yourself with a thousand milligrams of testosterone cypionate, your body is running high, [and] to sleep at night you either have to be extremely exhausted or you are going to have to use something to come down," he says. "It's so easy to get sidetracked and take other things because if you are doing one, why not do them all?"