Gatlin Gets 4-Year Ban

Olympic sprinter thinks vengeful massage therapist may have framed him
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 1, 2008 10:51 PM CST
Justin Gatlin of the United States competes in the Men's 100-meter event at the Qatar Grand Prix in Doha, Qatar in this May 12, 2006 file photo. The 100-meter gold medalist at the Athens Olympics, who...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Olympic 100-meter champion Justin Gatlin won't be competing this year in Beijing—or in any other track and field meet—after receiving a four-year ban for a failed drug test in 2006. The sprinter had been arguing his case, saying, for one thing, that a prior doping charge shouldn't count as his first offense, reports the Washington Post.

Gatlin's other defense was the theory that testosterone got in his system via a thigh rub from a vindictive massage therapist. Two of the three arbitrators sided against him, though, handing him the ban that counts retroactively from April, 2006. For the 25-year-old Gatlin, that sentence could still spell the end of his career. (Read more Justin Gatlin stories.)