Justin Gatlin, USA leading sprinter announced his retirement from all form of athletics on a Instagram account titled ‘Dear Track’.
Justin Gatlin had a glorious yet controversial career ranging from doping as well as Olympic titles and many regional and international events in its ambit.
On Thursday he wrote,I have loved you track. You gave me tears of sadness and of joy, lessons learned that will never be forgotten,”.
“The torch is passed but the love will never fade. On your mark, get set … Gone!”
Gatlin’s retirement had long been expected. He had attempted to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics last year but suffered a hamstring injury at the US trials in Eugene.
He completed a 100m and 200m sprint double at the World Championships in Helsinki in 2005, and also won 100m gold at the 2017 Worlds in London, scoring a rare victory over Jamaican icon Usain Bolt in the process.
He was also part of the USA’s gold-medal winning 4x100m relay team at the Doha World Championships in 2019.
Justin Gatlin had a range of setbacks in his career when he was tested and came out positive for the dopings. He was hugely and insanely criticised and booed from field to floor.
The US arbitration panel that heard his case ruled Gatlin was “certainly not a doper.”
A second positive test in 2006 found excessive levels of testosterone in his system.
Gatlin blamed the results on sabotage by a therapist with whom he was locked in a financial dispute.
Gatlin was banned for eight years for that offense, later reduced to four years on appeal.
Those controversies followed him throughout the remainder of his career, with athletics fans rarely passing up an opportunity to remind him of his chequered history.
After his victory at the London World Championships, the medal ceremony produced astonishing scenes with the American being booed by fans while chanting the name of beaten rival Bolt.
“It did hurt because I’m not there for myself,” Gatlin said later.
“I’m up there for my country. I’m up there for my supporters. I didn’t do it for myself. Especially at the starting line, I wasn’t there for me.”
Even World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe could not hide his distaste for Gatlin’s victory in London, noting dryly that he was “not eulogistic at the thought of somebody who has served two bans in our sport walking off with one of the biggest prizes our sport has to offer.”
Gatlin, however, insisted he had paid his dues and deserved his chance at redemption.
“I apologise for any wrongdoings I’ve brought onto the sport,” he said in 2017. “I love the sport…I have worked hard to right my wrongs.”
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