Gatlin To Appeal 8-Year Track and Field Ban

July 29, 2007

ATLANTA ( -- Suspended sprinter Justin Gatlin will appeal a possible eight-year doping ban Monday, an attempt by the Olympic gold medalist to become eligible for the 2008 Beijing Games.

The sprinter's lawyers will make the case in Atlanta, almost a year after he and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency reached an unusual compromise.

Gatlin shares the 100-meter world record of 9.77 seconds, though that would be erased if his doping penalty becomes official. At the 2004 Olympics, Gatlin won the gold medal in the 100, then won the 100 and 200 at the world championships a year later.

Gatlin tested positive for testosterone and other steroids at the Kansas Relays in April 2006. That test was his second positive doping test, which usually triggers a lifetime ban.

But in an agreement with USADA, Gatlin accepted positive test results for testosterone and other steroids but was given the right to seek a further reduction in the ban. He cannot argue, however, that the test was faulty.

Gatlin would be 32 in 2014, the year he would be eligible to return to the sport under the current ban. If it stands, it will likely end his track career.

Gatlin's first doping offense occurred when he was in college at the University of Tennessee. He stopped taking medicine to treat attention deficit disorder a few days before a competition, but it didn't clear his system, according to the case records. He received a two-year ban for that test, which was reduced by a year because of the "exceptional circumstances" of the offense.

After testing positive last April, Gatlin said he didn't know how steroids got into his system.

USADA would not discuss Gatlin's arbitration hearing, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. His attorney, John Collins, said only: "I am preparing for it now."

The Associated Press News Service

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