Nike Sent Kenny Bednarek To Train With Justin Gatlin And Dennis Mitchell… Here Is Why That Is A Problem.

Justin Horneker
2 min readJul 28, 2019


Back in December of 2017, I wrote a piece on this blog called, ‘Exploring Justin Gatlin’s Latest Controversy’. In that piece I describe how Justin Gatlin’s association with Dennis Mitchell, had led the 2-time doper into hot water. In that investigation, Gatlin’s agent (Robert Wagner) and former coach (Dennis Mitchell) are caught on camera trying to buy HGH and Testosterone and bragging about Gatlin’s use of those substances. Today’s controversy comes on the heels of a post race interview with Kenny Bednarek. In the interview; Bednarek admits that Nike sent him to train with Dennis Mitchell… oh and Justin Gatlin is there too (good stuff starts at 1:30):

While this isn’t a great look for a rising star like Bednarek, this is a terrible look for Gatlin and Nike. Gatlin tried to distance himself from Mitchell after the 2017 scandal by making this post on his Instagram page.

So it appears that Gatlin didn’t “fire” Mitchell after-all, or at best decided to re-hire him despite all the criticism that Mitchell has brought to Gatlin’s camp in the past.

Why This Matters

All of the efforts to keep our sport clean are in vein if the companies that hold the contracts aren’t compliant in this cause. Nike will be the first to hand out reductions or cut you if you take time off for pregnancy; but will funnel athletes to a known (and convicted) doper. Bednarek fully admitted that Nike sent him to go train with Mitchell’s camp; Nike knowing full and well what Dennis Mitchell brings to the table. He was suspended for 2 years as an athlete for having artificially high levels of Testosterone in his system. Mitchell was called to testify in the BALCO hearings for willingly injecting his athletes, and Mitchell worked with Justin Gatlin while he was banned from the sport for 4 years due to his 2nd doping offence.

Dennis Mitchell is not good company to keep, and the fact that Justin Gatlin would lie to us about leaving him behind is proof that he has guilt about the association. When you are on your last strike… wouldn’t you be more careful about who you associate with?

I highly doubt anything will come of this but if the defense of Mitchell and Gatlin is that “We all make mistakes”… True, but how many mistakes do you get before that becomes your character?


Check out my podcast ep. with Kim Conley ahead of this weekend’s 5000m final.

Follow me on twitter for more coverage of this situation.



Justin Horneker

Writing about Soccer and the current state of sports.