(Reuters) - Nike have no plans to add Tyson Gay to their stable of athletes, the company said on Wednesday, after it agreed to a new sponsorship deal with another disgraced American sprinter, Justin Gatlin.
Nike raised eyebrows when it entered into a sponsorship contract with Gatlin, the former Olympic and world 100 meters gold medalist who has twice served doping suspensions, including one four-year ban.
There had been reports that Gay, Gatlin’s U.S. team mate who was recently reinstated following a drugs ban, was also about to join the Nike sponsorship stable but a spokesperson for the sportswear giant told Reuters that was wide of the mark.
“We have recently signed a contract with Justin,” Charlie Brooks, Nike’s vice president communications for North America, told Reuters in an email.
“Earlier in his career, Justin served the ban that was imposed on him and has been competing again for almost five years.
“We have no plans to sign a contract with Tyson Gay.”
Gay, the 2007 world champion at 100 and 200m, returned to sprinting last July after serving the one-year suspension for a banned anabolic steroid.
He forfeited a silver medal he won with the U.S. 4x100 relay team at the 2012 London Olympics and had his results from July 2012 wiped out. He received a reduced suspension after admitting his offense and co-operating with investigators.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Peter Rutherford