Justin Gatlin, the controversial 100 meter world champion, has made his first public apology about the furore caused by his doping bans.

The American sprinter said the booing he received at the recently-concluded London championships hurt but it helped motivate him to beat Usain Bolt. Gatlin has received criticism for reportedly not showing remorse for his actions associated with this two drug bans. In 2001, Gatlin was first banned for taking a banned supplement for Attention Deficit Disorder that he had been using since childhood. The sprinter received an early reinstatement by the world governing body of athletics the following year. In 2006, the sprinter was banned again after he tested positive for the steroid Testosterone. It was claimed by Gatlin that this was as a result of sabotage by a disaffected member of his team.

Gatlin disclosed he wrote a letter of apology to the International Association of Athletics Federations years ago and has no issues if a public apology was required. The sprinter said the letter he wrote, which came out in 2015, it was suppressed for almost six years and he is not sure who or why they suppressed it but he did apologized. Gatlin also remarked he started a program where he went and talked to kids and told them about the pitfalls of falling behind the wrong people, staying on the path, and doing the right things.  The sprinter said he apologize for any wrongdoings or any black eyes that he brought onto the sport. Gatlin also remarked he loves the sport and that is why he had made a return and try to run to the best of his ability and for that he had worked hard to right his wrongs.

Gatlin said he was hurt by the jeering and booing from the crowd in London when he was presented with a gold medal for the 100m World Championships. The American sprinter said it did hurt because he is not there for himself, he is up there for his country, he is up there for his supporters, and added he didn’t do it for himself. Gatlin said he was there for people back at home watching who were not able to come and commented that maybe the boos were for him but standing on the podium was for the people who have loved him and his country that he loves.

Gatlin remarked he had to overcome his concern about what people thought about him before he came back to running. The 100 meter world champion also said he wanted people to respect him, to love him, to know that he is a hard worker like anybody else. Gatlin also said he felt like sometimes that fell on deaf ears, and it took away from his focus of being a runner because he was so consumed by what people would think about him and judging him, that he really had to just dial-in and just focus on being a runner and let the natural talent do all the talking.

Gatlin is next due to compete at the Diamond League meeting in Zurich.

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