Oregon - Controversial sprinter Justin Gatlin does not understand why people
insist on calling him a two-time drug cheat and want him kicked out of the
The American, who has served two doping bans, also expects future
generations to look at him less judgementally, he told said in an interview
ahead of the US world championships trials where he will run only the 200
"Last time I checked, someone who takes medication for a disorder is
not a doper," said Gatlin of his first drugs violation when he tested
positive in 2001 for an amphetamine contained in attention deficit disorder
medication (ADD) he had taken since a youth.
"Other people in the sport have taken the same medication I had for ADD
and only got warnings," he added of the two year ban that was later
reduced to one.
Talk of that suspension might eventually have faded or been downplayed until
the 2004 Olympic gold medallist and 2005 world champion failed a test for the
banned steroid testosterone in 2006.
He was banned for four years, though many thought that would be the end of
To the ire of many he has become even better since becoming eligible to run
again in 2010.
No one has beaten him at either 100 or 200 metres since 2013, while this
year, aged 33, he has set or equalled lifetime bests in both and become a
serious threat to dethrone Usain Bolt at August's world championships in
"If I felt like I did anything that I was trying to take away from the
sport of track and field, then I would stand up and say 'yes, I am guilty and I
did this. Please have mercy on me'," Gatlin said.
He has never admitted to doping and continued to insist his 2006 test came
from a massage therapist rubbing testosterone cream onto his legs, a contention
the therapist has denied.
"I have stuck to my story so far, and I have been honest with
that," Gatlin said.
His four years off have given his legs new shelf life, he claimed.
"I feel like 26 or 27 years old," he said.
With Bolt having difficulty regaining his top form, many expect Gatlin to
defeat the Jamaican in the 100 metres at the world championships, though the
American will not go that far.
"I think that I am a serious threat to anybody out there who is trying
to get that medal," he said.
"But I think those guys are a threat as well."
He and Bolt have not raced since 2013, and despite the Jamaican's lack of
form this year, Gatlin thinks his rival will be ready come August.
"He's done that in 2012," Gatlin said.
"He was beaten by his own team mate at Olympic trials, in the 100 and
200, and he seemed like he was going to lose the Olympics in 2012.
"But he woke up in the semi-finals and pulled it off."
The pair will meet again in August and Gatlin is relishing the challenge in
Beijing where he wants to take Bolt's mantle as the world's premier sprinter.
"I want it all again," he said.
"I want to be able to run the table. I want to be able to say that I
have all those things once again."
Athletics fans have been keen on the pair meeting before Beijing and while
Gatlin accepts it would have been a tempting showdown, he was more interested
in facing the Jamaican in China, when he expects him to be back at his best.
"What is it really going to amount to if I go out there and run against
Usain when he is not at his best?," Gatlin pondered.
"That is not a great storyline. It is not a race I would like to go out
"I want Usain at his best, and I think he wants me at my best.
"That's what people want to see."