Gatlin learns how to sprint again

Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:05pm EST
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By Gene Cherry

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - Justin Gatlin is learning how to sprint again, a fact that has little to do with the American's four-year absence from athletics under a doping ban.

With a new coach and a new philosophy on running, the former Olympic and world champion is working hard to get back to top speed.

"Everything I learned I had to throw it out the window and learn a whole new technique," Gatlin told Reuters in a telephone interview from Naples, Florida.

Maximum velocity is now his aim.

"Maximum velocity is your top end running speed, the maximum speed you can generate down the track," said Gatlin's new coach, Loren Seagrave.

"Although people spend a heck of a lot of time on the start, it (maximum velocity) is the single biggest determinant of who wins and who doesn't win," said the veteran coach.

"Particularly in the men's races, as they are looking at dipping well into the 9.5s, because people are not decelerating any more. The only reason they are decelerating is because of celebration," Seagrave added.

Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100 meters champion and 200 meters bronze medalist, has not competed since 2006 when, then coached by Trevor Graham, he failed a doping test for excessive amounts of testosterone, the second positive of his career.   Continued...

<p>Sprinter Justin Gatlin prepares to run from the blocks during practice in Marietta, Georgia January 18, 2010. Former Olympic and world champion Gatlin warned kingpins Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay to brace for a possible defeat when the U.S. sprinter returns from a four-year doping suspension this year. REUTERS/Tami Chappell</p>