Gatlin Rejects ‘Ridiculous’ Claims About Effects Of Steroids

American sprinter Justin Gatlin has dismissed suggestions that he is still reaping benefits of anabolic androgenic steroids nearly a decade after taking them.

Gatlin recently clocked 19.68 seconds to win the 200m at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene. He was questioned for running the fastest times at age of 33.

Gatlin was responding to a question from a journalist who asked about a study on mice that revealed doping effects could still be felt long after exposure. The sprinter said he is not sure why people would match a laboratory mouse to a human being and added he believes this is ridiculous and unfathomable to him. Let’s Run journalist Weldon Johnson asked Gatlin how he could assure people that he is running clean now to which the sprinter responded there is no commentary and he had already said whatever he had to say.

Gatlin, a two-time convicted drugs cheat, was banned for two years from international competition in 2001 after he tested positive for amphetamines. The Olympic gold medalist in the 100 meters was banned in 2006 for four years after he tested positive for testosterone. Gatlin vehemently denied steroid allegations and claimed that a masseur rubbed a cream that contained the banned substance on his back, a claim that is refuted by the masseur.

He agreed to an eight-year ban on August 22, 2006 to avoid a lifetime ban in exchange and the United States Anti-Doping Agency surprisingly reduced his suspension because of the “exceptional circumstances” surrounding his drug test of 2001 and cooperation with the doping authorities.

Last summer, Gatlin ran the fastest 100m and 200m times by a man in his thirties. In Brussels last year, the American sprinter pulled off the fastest ever one-day sprint double when he clocked 9.77 seconds for the 100m an hour before running the 200m in 19.71. In Monaco, he had run 19.68 for the 200m.

Dai Greene, Britain’s 2011 400m hurdles world champion, remarked in 2014 that the recent success of Gatlin shows that either he is still taking performance-enhancing drugs to get the best out of him at his advanced age, or the ones he did take are still doing a fantastic job as there is no way he can still be running that well at this late point in his career. Greene remarked that 9.77 is an incredibly fast time after having years on the sidelines, being unable to train or compete, it doesn’t really add up.

Many athletes opposed nomination of Gatlin for the IAAF’s athlete of the year 2014 shortlist. Robert Harting, another nominee and Germany’s Olympic, world and European discus champion, asked for Gatlin’s name to be removed from the list in protest. Briton Darren Campbell, a former European 100m champion, also opposed the name of Gatlin and then remarked that if you did it artificially, you don’t know how you did it. In 2014, French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie and Valerie Adams, shot putter from New Zealand, were crowned the male and female World Athletes of the Year.

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