Gatlin's Steroid Hearing Extended

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Justin Gatlin's defense of his positive drug test during an arbitration hearing, which had been scheduled to conclude yesterday, was extended to a third day in Atlanta, said Gatlin's attorney, John P. Collins.

Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion in the 100 meters, faces a possible eight-year ban for a positive test for testosterone or its precursors at a minor meet in Kansas on April 22, 2006.

Chris Whetstine, the massage therapist whom Gatlin accused of rubbing a steroid-based cream on his legs in a possible sabotage attempt, testified yesterday as expected, according to sources briefed on the hearing, which was closed to the public and reporters. In an e-mail to a running Web site Monday, Whetstine had called the allegations "utter and complete rubbish."

Collins declined to comment on any elements of the hearing, and Whetstine did not immediately respond to an e-mail request for comment.

Gatlin described Whetstine as a "despicable person" and told The Post on Sunday he could find no other explanation for the positive test. He was expected to call medical experts who would say the positive result was consistent with the application of a steroid-based cream.

Jeff Novitzky, the lead agent in the five-year-old Balco steroid probe, had been called Monday as a witness by Gatlin and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which is prosecuting the case. Gatlin told The Post that his cooperation in the Balco investigation -- including wearing wiretaps to record telephone calls with his coach, Trevor Graham-- substantiates his claim that he did not knowingly use drugs or allow them to be administered to him.

-- Amy Shipley

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