World Championships 2017: Justin Gatlin booed during gold medal ceremony

World Athletics Championships on the BBC
Venue: London Stadium Dates: 4-13 August
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Justin Gatlin was subjected to boos and jeers from the crowd inside London Stadium as he was presented with his 100m World Championships gold medal.

The American, who has twice served a doping ban, pulled off a shock win on Saturday to end Usain Bolt's reign in the Jamaican's final individual race.

Bolt received cheers as he was awarded his bronze, but there were sections of the crowd that booed Gatlin.

The 30-year-old Jamaican applauded Gatlin as he was presented with gold.

American six-time individual world sprint champion Michael Johnson said his compatriot had been cast as a "villain" by the media who he said had ignored other cheats.

The 49-year-old told BBC Sport: "At London 2012 nobody booed Gatlin [he won bronze in the 100m final]. When he started getting close to Bolt at the 2015 World Championships we created this narrative.

"We didn't educate people about all the drugs cheats. I think we have presented him as a villain. I think we need to do a better job of educating all of what has been going on."

Fellow BBC athletics commentator Steve Cram, the 1983 1500m world champion, said: "Because Gatlin is in our faces a lot more than a guy who is 12th in the discus, he's had more coverage than most. Inevitably, he has become the villain."

Earlier, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Lord Coe, who had presented the medals, told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek that Gatlin's victory was "not the perfect script".

"I'm not eulogistic that someone who has served two bans has walked off with one of our glittering prizes," he said.

"But he is eligible to be here."

Bolt had been favourite to secure his 20th global gold in the final major championships of his glittering career, but the three-time 100m Olympic champion finished with bronze, behind Gatlin and his USA team-mate Christian Coleman.

Gatlin was booed by the crowd as he celebrated, but was embraced by Bolt on the finish line.

Coe added: "It's not the perfect script. I thought Usain was very generous with the observations he made.

"That must have been a bitter event for him to swallow. He was bigger than the moment and it typifies his career."

Jessica Ennis-Hill (right)
Jessica Ennis-Hill (right) received her Daegu 2011 gold medal and German Jennifer Oeser received silver after she was upgraded

Moments before the 100m medal ceremony, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill was presented her upgraded Daegu 2011 heptathlon gold after original winner Tatyana Chernova was stripped of the medal after the Russia had the result annulled for doping.

Why was Gatlin banned?

In 2001, when he was still at college, Gatlin was given a two-year suspension for taking a banned amphetamine.

He successfully argued this was due to medication he took for attention deficit disorder and was allowed to return to competition after a year.

Then, in 2006 - having won the 100m and 200m double at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki - he tested positive again, this time for testosterone.

Gatlin was banned for eight years, avoiding a lifetime ban in exchange for his co-operation with doping authorities. This suspension was halved to four years on appeal.

After Saturday's race, Jamaica's prime minister Andrew Holness admitted he would like to see athletes who fail drug tests receive life bans, saying: "It's the only way you're going to fully ensure that people don't cheat in the sport."

In response, Coe added: "So would I and so would the majority of our sport. I'm not going to close the door on lifetime bans but we've constantly tried it and lost it.

"It's worth remembering that Gatlin's first ban was for amphetamines, and the case against him was at the more serious end. That then got watered down. We then had the second major infringement. We applied for an eight-year ban and again that got lost."

Wada president Craig Reedie said a lifetime ban "would not stand up in a court".

"It would be viewed as excessive," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"We would be faced with a huge difficulty because the code, if it works at all, has to have proportionate sanctions. It would be a disaster if we had a rule which was tripped up in court within five minutes of putting it into place."

Bolt said I didn't deserve boos - Gatlin


British former sprinter Darren Campbell on BBC Radio 5 live:

Fair play to Lord Coe, he is trying his best to clean it up. We need to get radical and serious about this.

I just feel we have to get to a stage where athletes sign documents which say if they are caught up in any doping controversy then they are banned for life. We can't have what happened last night.

I didn't enjoy the booing, but I fully appreciate and totally understand why the crowd reacted that way.


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