Dennis Mitchell was one of the USA’s leading sprinters of the 1990s. He won Olympic gold and silver respectively at the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta games, as part of the USA’s 4×100 metre relay teams. In the same event, he won two World Championship golds, at Tokyo 1991 and Stuttgart 1993. In the process, he was part of four 4x100m world records. In an era dominated by Carl Lewis and Leroy Burrell, he was somewhat less successful in the individual 100 metres, but he did manage to win three individual bronze medals, at the 1991 and 1993 World Championships, and the 1992 Olympics.
In 1998, Mitchell was banned by the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF), after testing positive for unusually high levels of testosterone. Artificially high levels of testosterone are one of the main indicators of doping by anabolic steroids. Mitchell appealed to the US Track and Field doping panel, claiming that the only reason his testosterone levels were high was because, the night before the test, he had drunk six bottles of beer, and had sex with his wife four times. He told the panel, ‘It was the lady’s birthday; she deserved a treat.’ Astonishingly, the USATF accepted this explanation, and allowed Mitchell to continue to compete, even though his testosterone levels had been far outside the normal range. A few years later, Mitchell was eventually banned, for his involvement with coach Trevor Graham, who was at the centre of the BALCO doping scandal.