Der Spiegel: Angel Heredia, once a doping dealer and now a chief witness for the U.S. Justice Department, talks about the powerlessness of the investigators, the motives of athletes who cheat and the drugs of the future.
He had been in hiding under an assumed name in a hotel in Laredo, Texas, for two years when the FBI finally caught up with him. The agents wanted to know from Angel Heredia if he knew a coach by the name of Trevor Graham, whether he carried the nickname “Memo”, and what he knew about doping. "No", "no", "nothing" – those were his replies. But then the agents laid the transcripts of 160 wiretapped telephone conversations on the table, as well as the e-mails and the bank statements. That’s when Angel "Memo" Heredia knew that he had lost. He decided to cooperate, and he also knew that he would only have a chance if he didn’t lie – not a single time. “He’s telling the truth,” the investigators say about Heredia today.
SPIEGEL: Mr. Heredia, will you watch the 100 meter final in Beijing?
Heredia: Of course. But the winner will not be clean. Not even any of the contestants will be clean.
SPIEGEL: Of eight runners ... Heredia: ... eight will be doped. ...
Heredia: Yes. When the season ended in October, we waited for a couple of weeks for the body to cleanse itself. Then in November, we loaded growth hormone and epo, and twice a week we examined the body to make sure that no lumps were forming in the blood. Then we gave testosterone shots. This first program lasted eight to ten weeks, then we took a break.
SPIEGEL: And then the goals for the season were established?
Heredia: Yes, that depended on the athlete. Some wanted to run a good time in April to win contracts for the tournaments. Others focused on nothing but the trials, the U.S. qualification for international championships. Others cared only about the Olympics. Then we set the countdown for the goal in question, and the next cycle began. I had to know my athletes well and have an overview of what federation tested with which methods.
SPIEGEL: Where does one get this information?
Heredia: Vigilance. Informers. ...
SPIEGEL: What trainers have you worked together with? Heredia: Particularly with Trevor Graham.
SPIEGEL: Graham has a lifetime ban because he purportedly helped Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery, Justin Gatlin and many others to cheat. Who else?
Heredia: With Winthrop Graham, his cousin. With John Smith, Maurice Greene’s coach. With Raymond Stewart, the Jamaican. With Dennis Mitchell ...
SPIEGEL: ... who won gold in the 4 x 100 meters in 1992 and today is a coach. How did the collaboration work?
Heredia: It’s a small world. It gets around who can provide you with something how quickly and at what price, who is discreet. The coaches approached me and asked if I could help them, and I said: yes. Then they gave me money, $15,000 or thereabouts, we got a first shipment and then we did business. At some point it led to one-on-one cooperation with the athletes.
SPIEGEL: Was there a regimen of sorts?
Heredia: Yes. I always combined several things. For example, I had one substance called actovison that increased blood circulation – not detectable. That was good from a health standpoint and even better from a competitive standpoint. Then we had the growth factors IGF-1 and IGF-2. And epo. Epo increases the number of red blood cells and thus the transportation of oxygen, which is the key for every athlete: the athlete wants to recover quickly, keep the load at a constantly high level and achieve a constant performance.
SPIEGEL: Once again: a constant performance at the world-class level is unthinkable without doping?
Heredia: Correct. 400 meters in 44 seconds? Unthinkable. 71 meters with a discus? No way. You might be able to run 100 meters in 9.8 seconds once with a tailwind. But ten times a year under 10 seconds, in the rain or heat? Only with doping. Part III: “If he maintains he is clean, I can only answer that that is a lie.”
SPIEGEL: Testosterone, growth hormone, epo – that was your combination?
Heredia: Yes, with individual variations. And then amazing things are possible. In 2002 Jerome Young was ranked number 38 in the 400 meters. Then we began to work together, and in 2003 he won almost every big race.
SPIEGEL: How were you paid?
Heredia: I had an annual wage. For big wins I got a $40,000 bonus. ...