Justin Gatlin Did Not PR* And Other Drug Cheat News
Weldon Johnson, LetsRun.com
June 28, 2012
Justin Gatlin is back at age 30.
The former world record holder ran a pr of 9.80 to win the US Olympic Trials 100m over Tyson Gay at the Olympic Trials. The media asked Gatlin about his amazing comeback. They asked what it was like to surpass his new coach Dennis Mitchell as the oldest winner of the Olympic Trials 100m.
What sort of fantasy world is the media living in?
Justin Gatlin did not PR. Back in 2006, Gatlin ran a 9.77 to tie the World Record.. The problem is USADA made the conclusion he was on drugs when he did it and took away his world record. Gatlin is not coming back from some injury. He is coming back from a four year drug suspension. His new coach, Dennis Mitchell is not just the oldest winner of the Olympic Trials, he is convicted drug cheat Dennis Mitchell. The guy who claimed when he was popped for excessive testosterone that his testosterone was high because he had "five bottles of beer and sex with his wife at least four times . . . it was her birthday, the lady deserved a treat." USA Track and Field accepted that defense. (Let's pause for a second and think about that- USA Track and Field accepted that defense). Fortunately, the IAAF did not and Mitchell was suspended. Turns out, Mitchell later would be a government witness willing to admit he was also giving HGH by Trevor Graham. The same Trevor Graham who coached Justin Gatlin.
Somehow all of this is lost and the media acts like Justin Gatlin is just an amazing comeback story. I did not see the television broadcast of the race, but Running with the Buffaloes author, Chris Lear, tells me NBC did not once mention Gatlin's drug suspension. Incredible if true.
At the Trials 100m press conference, no one in the media asked Gatlin about drugs either, except for me. Relevant portion in the one minute clip below.
I have no idea whether Justin Gatlin is now clean. However, by associating with who he is associating with, Gatlin has shown he does not care too much either about proving he is clean. That is Gatlin's right, but let's not ignore the facts:
Gatlin has run 9.77 in the past. His body remembers that. He is a convicted drug cheat. He was coached by Trevor Graham who coached 8 prominent athletes with drug suspensions. His current coach is not just Dennis Mitchell, the previous oldest winner of the Trials, but Dennis Mitchell, drug cheat, who it likely seems was lying about his drug use with the sex and beer defense.
Gatlin is an interesting guy when you listen to him. To run 9.80 after 4 years away from the sport is amazing. Ignoring his past however, does the sport no favors.
Gatlin claims his massage therapist Chris Whetstine sabotaged him by rubbing steroids into his body. One prominent track writer told me he believes the whole "my masseuse sabotaged me" defense of Gatlin. Not that he believes Gatlin was necessarily clean, because nearly everyone else training with Gatlin's coach Trevor Graham was busted for drugs. However, he believes Gatlin may have been sabotaged by a rival sprint group. Sounds crazy and conspiratorial but then remember that Trevor Graham, the coach who ended up getting banned for life from the Balco scandal, was actually the coach who mailed the syringe of the "clear" to USADA hoping to bust, I believe Tim Montgomery who had left his sprint group for a rival group.