Arbitration Body Rejects Gatlin's Appeal for Leniency

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Justin Gatlin's hope of defending his Olympic gold medal in the 100 meters ended yesterday when the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected his appeal for a reduction of the four-year doping ban he received in December. The ruling did not include the grounds for the decision, which will be issued at a later date.

Gatlin's attorney, Maurice Suh, said Gatlin was "weighing his legal options" but declined to elaborate. Gatlin, who tested positive for a steroid on April 22, 2006, cannot compete at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials, which begin at the end of this month in Eugene, Ore. He is barred from competition until July 10, 2010.

Gatlin, a two-time world champion in 2005, received more than the standard two-year ban for a first offense because he had tested positive previously.

Suh had argued that the first case should not be held against Gatlin because the result came during his collegiate years at the University of Tennessee from a stimulant in the attention-deficit disorder medication he had been taking since childhood.

Suh also argued that Gatlin did not knowingly ingest a steroid in the second case. The world governing body of track and field (IAAF) said Gatlin deserved a lifetime ban.

"I will continue to fight for my right to participate in the great sport of track and field in a time frame shorter than four years," Gatlin said in a statement. "I have never been involved in any intentional doping scheme, and I think that CAS would not have rejected the IAAF's position unless it also believed that I had not participated in any intentional doping."

Before Gatlin learned of his positive test, he had matched the previous 100-meter world record of 9.77 seconds, but that result and others since the positive test have been wiped out.

-- Amy Shipley

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