Former Olympic medalist served as assistant track coach at UNC.
Former professional track athlete Antonio Pettigrew was found dead in the early-morning hours on Tuesday in North Carolina’s Chatham County, University of North Carolina Officials told USA Track & Field. A 1992 graduate of St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, N.C., the 42-year-old Pettigrew had worked as an assistant track coach for UNC for four years.
Further details surrounding Pettigrew’s death are pending and are under investigation by the Chatham County Sheriff.
“The USATF family extends our condolences to all of Antonio’s family, friends and colleagues,” said USATF Chairman and President Stephanie Hightower.“The track and field community is very tight-knit, and news like this affects everyone deeply.”
Pettigrew’s athletic career ran the gamut from the pinnacle of achievement to the scourge of drugs. While actively competing, he was a three-time world champion in the 4x400m relay, a 2000 Olympic gold medalist and world record holder in the relay and the 1991 world champion in the open 400 meters. He had won five U.S. Outdoor 400-meter titles over span of 12 years and at one time served on USATF’s Board of Directors as a representative of the Athletes Advisory Committee.
As a professional athlete, Pettigrew trained with Trevor Graham, who has since received a lifetime ban from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in investigations related to the BALCO scandal. In 2008, Pettigrew admitted to having used performance-enhancing drugs during his career and accepted having all his competitive results since January 1997 nullified. He lost the gold medals he won on the 4x400m relay at the 2000 Olympic Games and 1997 and 1999 World Championships, as well as the 4x400m world record team he was part of in 1998. He retained his 1991 world title, three U.S. outdoor championships from 1989, ’91 and ’94, and the 1994 World Cup title.
Pettigrew is survived by his wife and young son.
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