By Steve Holt, Sports Writer
Two former Wildcat track and field athletes placed first in their events at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Repub-lic, Aug. 5-9, but only one got to bring home a gold medal.
Stephen Moore, a Plainview native and 1998 ACU graduate, won the gold medal in the men’s decathlon at the prestigious championships with 7,809 points. Sprinter Mickey Grimes, also a 1998 ACU graduate, placed first in the 100-meter dash and ran a leg on the United States’ 4×100-meter relay. After Grimes failed a doping test, however, he was forced to give up his medals and the U.S. relay team was disqualified. The test, conducted in a Montreal laboratory, revealed Grimes had 13.7 micrograms per milliliter of the stimulant ephedrine in his system, when the legal limit is 10.
In a statement released through the U.S. Olympic Committee, Grimes acknowledged and seemed penitent for his actions.
“I understand that athletes need to take responsibility for everything we put in our bodies,” Grimes said. “I made a mistake, and I know that my action carries with it a penalty.
“I sincerely regret letting down the U.S. delegation and my country, and I look forward to representing my country in the future.”
ACU head track and field coach Jon Murray, who coached Grimes during his short tenure, said it’s hard to know the sprinter’s motives in taking the supplement, but that it is negative either way.
“You’d hope he made a mistake-took something. It’s in a lot of stuff-it’s in anything that’s an herbal type thing,” Murray said. “Hopefully, Mickey learned to watch what he takes better.”
Despite the dark shadow cast by Grimes’ troubles, ACU track and field alumni had their best showing ever at the Pan American Games. Moore’s decathlon win was a possible preview of the Olympic trials, in which he plans to participate in July 2004 in Sacramento, Calif.
“You know where they come from, how much work they put in, what type of people they are,” Murray said about Moore’s win in the 10-event competition. “He’s a hard worker and performs well under pressure.”
Nic Alexander, whose eligibility ran out after the 2003 season, placed eighth in the 100-meter dash and ran a leg on the third-place 4×100-meter relay team from Trinidad and Tobago. Eric Thomas, who ran at ACU in 1995, was second in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 48.74. Former six-time national champion Terrance Woods, a 2002 ACU graduate, placed third in the men’s high jump, clearing 7-3 1/4.
Both Moore and Thomas are considered some of the nation’s best in their respective events entering the Olympic trials. Woods has qualified for the Olympic trials for the U.S., but has yet to meet the World Championships “A” standard of 7-7.