Christian Coleman wins world 100-meter title weeks after avoiding USADA ban

Jack Baer
Writer

With the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo on tap, American sprinter Christian Coleman took gold in the 100-meter dash at the 2019 World Athletics Championships and established himself as the world’s top sprinter at the age of 23.

Silver went to the 37-year-old Justin Gatlin, followed by Canada’s Andre De Grasse with bronze.

Coleman’s time of 9.76 seconds was a personal best, and made him the sixth-fastest man in world history. Only Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay, Yohan Blake, Asafa Powell and Gatlin have posted faster times.

Coleman, a former NCAA champion at Tennessee, finished second to Gatlin in 2017 at the previous world championships.

Christian Coleman is a world champion. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The result undoubtedly makes Coleman one of the American athletes to watch in Tokyo next year, as he is poised to be come the first American to take gold in the 100-meter dash since Gatlin at Athens in 2004. Coleman is also slated to compete in the 200-meter dash at Worlds later in the event.

The win must also be a relief for Coleman, as it came after a month of worries that he wouldn’t be able to compete at all.

Coleman faced doping ban due to testing availability

It was reported in August that Coleman was facing a two-year ban from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency due to a string of three “whereabouts failures” in the span of 12 months. Coleman never tested positive for a banned substance, but missing that many tests in a year can reportedly be treated as a positive test by the USADA.

Athletes are required to give the USADA a 60-minute window in their daily schedule so they can be tested outside competitions. It appeared Coleman wasn’t available when he said would be.

Coleman later issued a statement saying the report concerning his alleged violations were “simply not true,” and was cleared when the USADA dropped its case before a hearing due to a clerical detail. While Coleman’s three failures to report occurred on June 6, 2018, Jan. 16, 2019, and April 26, 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency rules say the date of a filing failure is set as the first day of the quarter in which the violation occurs. Coleman’s first offense was backdated to April 1, 2018, putting it outside a 12-month window.

Coleman later took responsibility for the failures, but requested an apology from the USADA for its handling of the situation and noted the doping control office told him his third miss would not count against him at the time. He also claimed that he has been tested 12 times by the USADA, and 30-40 times per year in total.

The whole thing was a big headache for Coleman, who said he lost $150,000 due to the situation between legal fees and missing two Diamond League meets in August. Hopefully, that will all be in the past by the time Coleman is gearing up for a run at gold in Tokyo.

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