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In April '06 the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) recommended a two-year suspension for Corey and he was ordered to forfeit results dating back to May 2004. Corey's reinstatement was contingent on his getting counseling and receiving a medical evaluation. "This case shows the extent to which drugs have infiltrated youth sports," says USADA chief executive officer Travis Tygart. "It's a grave societal problem. In my view it's just as pernicious as crack cocaine and meth abuse, though some people might think it's more acceptable. It was hard to punish this kid. Yes, he cheated and unfairly beat other competitors, but he was under his father's influence. The kid was a victim."
ACTING ON Jim Gahan's tip, the Hillsborough County sheriff's office ran surveillance on Miller's office. "We started seeing large males show up in nice cars," says detective Mike Gibson. "They'd stay a short period of time and leave." In October 2003 the clinic was raided. Among the boxes of evidence carted away were Corey's medical file and the log entries that indicated he had visited Miller. The following summer Miller and Pavicic pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute steroids to a minor. Pavicic served a six-month sentence in federal prison starting in '05. Miller's sentencing was delayed because he was cooperating in wider steroid investigations and because he had a liver disease. Last fall he received an 18-month sentence for his role in Corey's doping.
When authorities confronted Miller and Pavicic the two men fingered Jim Gahan. At first Corey refused to implicate his father, but by December 2006, after being banned from competition and with the evidence mounting against Jim, Corey decided to cooperate with the investigators. According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony, the lead prosecutor in the case, Corey's cooperation was a key element in forcing his father's guilty plea. On Jan. 7 Jim was sentenced for providing steroids to his son. "Even though I kept trying to tell him he didn't do anything—he just did what he had to and Jim put himself there—how could he not feel [bad]?" asks Corey's mom. "Because of what he said, 'Wow, now my dad is in prison.'"
During an interview at the Hernando County ( Fla.) Jail in November, Jim maintained that Corey's testosterone was abnormally low, providing a bona fide medical rationale for his son's use of performance-enhancing drugs. "If you're a pro athlete and you get caught, you get three strikes," says Jim. "In amateur sports you get caught once, you get laid out for two years. Your career is over. But are kids willing to take that risk to get to that level where the millions of dollars are? They're doing that every day."
But on further reflection, he is contrite: "Am I sorry? Absolutely. One hundred percent. It started out as an innocent thing and blossomed into a nightmare. It wasn't like I was trying to distribute steroids to all the little speedskaters and he and I were making a profit from it. It was just him and me trying to make him the best at what he was doing."
As for Corey, he's back in Grandville, living with his mother. He says it has been more than a year since he has spoken to his father. Now 18—and 15 pounds lighter than he was as a 15-year-old—he works on the loading dock for a department store. His two-year USADA ban has elapsed, but he's unsure whether he'll return to competitive in-line skating. As Corey tries to scrounge together enough money to get his own place, one point still gnaws at him: He firmly believes he could have been a champion without pharmacological enhancement.
Soft-spoken and reserved, Corey wavers among embarrassment, regret and awe when he reflects on his fractured teenage years and his experiment with steroids. "People make it sound like these medications are only performance-enhancing, but they have a huge mental impact as well," he says. "By the time I was done, I was a wreck. When kids get a hold of this stuff, damn...."