Why I don’t acknowledge Justin Gatlin’s existence

On Saturday, Justin Gatlin became the men’s 100m dash World Champion; clocking in at 9.92 seconds.

The race was close, with three athletes leaning at the finish, and no one quite sure who won. The athletes awaited the outcome; watching the results monitor. As the results appeared the entire crowd at the Stratford Olympic Stadium began to boo in unison. Justin Gatlin had beat Usain Bolt.

Why were 57,000 fans booing? Because they know Justin Gatlin has been caught for doping. They felt cheated, and they didn’t want him to win.

In 2001 Gatlin was caught with amphetamines in his system. Amphetamines are a stimulant on the banned substance list.

Amphetamines are scientifically known to: improve memory, increased endurance and alertness, promoting goal-directed behavior, increase muscle strength, acceleration, athletic performance in anaerobic conditions, and endurance, while improving reaction time. Amphetamine and other dopaminergic drugs also increase power output at fixed levels of perceived exertion by overriding a “safety switch” that allows the core temperature limit to increase in order to access a reserve capacity that is normally off-limits. [1][2]

Gatlin was sentenced to a two-year ban, but it was later reduced to just one year after he appealed, claiming he had been using the drugs since he was 9 after being diagnosed with ADD.

The IAAF Council also stated its position in relation to cases of athletes who are proscribed prohibited substances in connection with the treatment of ADD and related disorders. Athletes requiring amphetamine medication f or the treatment of ADD must ensure that this medicine is taken under close medical supervision, to ensure that they do not compete under the performance enhancing influence of amphetamines. The IAAF will not grant applications for athletes with ADD who seek an exemption on medical grounds to use amphetamines during competition. [3]

Clearly this shows that even with rules in place the IAAF has no backbone to support them.

Council stressed that Gatlin had committed a doping offence and issued a warning that any repetition of his positive result would result in a life ban. [3]

I am all for giving an athlete a second chance. Especially for something minor like a stimulant, and something that could be legitimate. But with how this sport is, I intend to think the worst of our sprinters and distance runners.

But just a few years later, in 2006 Gatlin tested positive again for banned substances; this time something much more serious. Testosterone.

With the IAAF council saying they would ban him for life for any repetition of a positive result, you would think this would put an end to Gatlin’s career. But no, he was sentenced to just an 8-year ban for using one of the hardest drugs in the sport.

Gatlin stated, “I cannot account for these results, because I have never knowingly used any banned substance or authorized anyone to administer such a substance to me.” [4]

Which we know to be a lie, since he has been caught and admits to taking amphetamines for his ADHD, which are on the banned substance list.

Gatlin again appealed the 8-year ban, claiming that a massage therapist rubbed testosterone cream into Gatlin’s legs.

His ban was reduced to four years after the appeal, but ruined the life of his massage therapist.

With two bans on his rap sheet, Gatlin still made a comeback. In his comeback, it seems that American track fans accepted him. He served his time (well not really, only half), and he has put in so much hard work and dedication to come back.

But something we are learning from research on testosterone and other banned substances is that they can aid performance long after they have left the system.

Call it, “career long training.” The hard training under banned substances doesn’t go away. It is the base for the rest of your life. The body has done it once before, and now it just needs to remember how to fire the muscles in the same order again.

Case and point. In 2015 at the age of 33 Gatlin was sprinting time faster than he was at the age of 24, in his prime, and on testosterone.

This means one of three things.

1: Gatlin is the chosen one. He can defy physics and science.

2: Testosterone continues to benefit users long after it is out of their system.

3: Gatlin is still on drugs.

The rest of the world wanted Gatlin out of the sport. Athletes wanted Gatlin out of the sport. Even the IAAF didn’t want him in the sport.

German discus thrower Robert Harting withdrew his name from the Athlete of the Year shortlist in protest of Gatlin’s nomination, while IAAF vice-president Sebastian Coe admitted he is “not particularly comfortable about” Gatlin being on the list. [5]

Gatlin isn’t the most remorseful person in his interviews either. He often denies questions from the press about past doping allegations. I don’t blame him, I wouldn’t want to talk about that either. I would be ashamed.

But it’s not just in interviews that Gatlin isn’t particularly well liked. He showed his true colors on social media in 2014.

22-year-old cross country runner Vegard Olstad posted “Druggers are not welcome!” in reference to Gatlin.

Gatlin replied to one of his Instagram photos saying.

He continued to slam the college athlete for miscounting Gatlin’s doping bans.

“Slap your mom for me u non counting idiot. While your at it add some wins for me too. Then go do your research if you want to state true facts.”“Haters like you will never make it in life.

“U don’t even no me lil boy lol but u goooooot to hate like your doing a justice right?

“Point is focus on your own lame life. I’m still winning your still crying.

“U don’t sprint! Your not a pro! Hell your not American so go home!

“I check you stats and u suck! Lmao so this is 5min of fame right here champ.

“FYI tell your mom hi for me.” [6]

Doper or not, Gatlin is not a person I want Team USA or Track and Field to be associated with.

Not only have the doping agencies failed to keep him from the sport but I think that USATF, IAAF, meet directors, and even athletes are failing to keep a poison like Gatlin from tarnishing our sport.

Court of Arbitration rules that Gatlin has served his time but does that mean USATF should allow him to still make teams?

USATF needs to amend their rules and stop athletes that have tested positive from making World/Olympic teams.

Should meet directors allow him to race at their meets?

Better yet what if the athletes stood up and said we don’t want him on our team?

Well I am doing it. I may not make many friends like this, but it’s about time someone spoke up.

We do not need Gatlin in this sport. We do not want him in this sport. I don’t want him wearing the same Team USA uniform as me. He does not deserve to be here.

I have never acknowledged his existence when we are at the same meets, in the dining halls, at team functions, or on the track.

He is sending a bad message to our youth. “Do drugs, but have an excuse and we will still pay you millions and praise you.”

We need to end the current drug era we are in. Squash it NOW by actually doing something.

Maybe with harsher rulings athletes would take it more seriously. And when future Americans sprint to gold medals the crowd will celebrate rather than boo.


Share, like, and comment if you think Justin Gatlin should still be able to compete.

6 months ago