Once the fastest human human on the earth, track star Justin Gatlin might now be the sorriest human on earth after track and field banned him from competition the next 4 years. Story in the WaPo.
Reigning Olympic 100-meter champion Justin Gatlin learned last night that his 20-month fight against doping charges -- and probably his track and field career -- had ended. Gatlin was informed he had received a four-year competition ban for an April 22, 2006, positive test for testosterone and its precursors, according to several people close to the case.
In a split decision among three U.S. arbitrators that included a 53-page opinion and 22-page dissent, two arbitrators said they could not dole out less than a four-year ban to Gatlin because of a previous positive test, according to a person who had reviewed the decision. The opinion had not been publicly released as of last night.
The usual ban for a first doping offense is two years; a second offense can be a lifetime ban. Gatlin, 25, tested positive for a stimulant in his attention-deficit disorder medication at his first major U.S. meet while in college at Tennessee.
Though Gatlin, who won the 100 and 200 titles at the 2005 world championships, faced as much as an eight-year ban, he had argued that the previous positive test should not be held against him. He also argued that special circumstances applied to his case, since he secretly tape-recorded calls with his former coach and assistant coach to aid a federal steroids investigation.
Gatlin's first offense appears to have occurred when he neglected to file a TUE with track officials. Is this the same as drug-cheating? On the other hand, Gatlin looked for many excuses along the way, including the 'sabotage by masseuse' defense.
He (Gatlin) further claimed he was possibly sabotaged by a vengeful massage therapist who rubbed testosterone cream onto his legs. Gatlin, who hoped to return to competition for the 2008 Summer Games, was devastated by the decision, according to people close to him.
One of the arbitrators, Chris Campbell, wrote in his dissent that Gatlin had been discriminated against under the Americans With Disabilities Act and had proven his sabotage claim only 33 percent, not the required 50.1 percent, according to the person who reviewed the opinion.
Interesting opinion by former Iowa wrestler Chris Campbell - who also arbitrated the Floyd Landis case, where he also dissented with the majority opinion. How discrimination enters into a situation where an athlete fails to file a TUE seems oblique.