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
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.'"
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.
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...."