Gatlin disputes he's a two-time drug cheat

Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:48pm EDT
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By Gene Cherry

EUGENE, Oregon (Reuters) - Controversial sprinter Justin Gatlin does not understand why people insist on calling him a two-time drug cheat and want him kicked out of the sport.

The American, who has served two doping bans, also expects future generations to look at him less judgementally, he told Reuters in an interview ahead of the U.S. world championships trials where he will run only the 200 meters.

"Last time I checked, someone who takes medication for a disorder is not a doper," said Gatlin of his first drugs violation when he tested positive in 2001 for an amphetamine contained in attention deficit disorder medication (ADD) he had taken since a youth.

"Other people in the sport have taken the same medication I had for ADD and only got warnings," he added of the two year ban that was later reduced to one.

"I didn't."

Talk of that suspension might eventually have faded or been downplayed until the 2004 Olympic gold medalist and 2005 world champion failed a test for the banned steroid testosterone in 2006.

He was banned for four years, though many thought that would be the end of his career.

To the ire of many he has become even better since becoming eligible to run again in 2010.   Continued...

Justin Gatlin from the U.S. celebrates after winning the men's 100 meters event during the Golden Gala IAAF Diamond League at the Olympic stadium in Rome, Italy June 4, 2015. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito