On This Day 2006: Justin Gatlin hit with eight-year ban after failing drugs test

Justin Gatlin is one of athletics’ most controversial figures.

The USA sprinter returned from failed drugs tests to claim the 100m Olympic and world title.

On this day in 2006, Gatlin was banned for eight years after failing a drugs test for a second time.

He had originally been been banned for two years in 2001 after testing positive for amphetamines.

Athletics – Athens Olympic Games 2004 – Men’s 100m – Final
The USA’s Justin Gatlin celebrates winning Olympic gold in 2004. (David Davies/PA)

Then, Gatlin appealed saying the positive test had been due to ADHD medication and the ban was lifted early.

He returned to claim Olympic gold in 2004 in 9.85 seconds as well as 200m bronze in Athens before clinching the 100m and 200m world titles in 2005.

But, a year later, he accepted an eight-year ban from track and field, avoiding a lifetime one in exchange for his co-operation with the doping authorities.

Gatlin appealed and an arbitration panel reduced it to four years at a hearing in December 2007.

The American returned in 2010 and was eliminated in the semi finals of the 2011 World Championships in his first major competition before he clinched 100m bronze at London 2012.

Olympic silver at Rio 2016 followed and he continued to just miss a controversial gold after 100m silver at the 2013 World Championships. He again finished behind Usain Bolt in the 100m and 200m two years later.

Gatlin eventually claimed another world title when he beat Christian Coleman and Bolt, in his final solo 100m race, at the 2017 World Championships in London.

His victory was greeted by boos from the crowd and he could not defend his title last year, coming second behind Coleman in Doha.