Justin Gatlin is an American sprinter who won gold in the 100-meter dash at the 2004 Summer Olympics in 9.85 seconds. His personal best in the 100-meter dash is 9.74 seconds. He was a gifted athlete who turned pro in his teens after receiving a lucrative endorsement contract from Nike Inc., an American multinational corporation. He won the 60-meter dash twice at the World Indoor Championships. He has, however, been involved in controversy for the wrong reasons. In 2001, he was given a two-year suspension from Athletics after testing positive for a banned drug. When he was tested positive for a banned substance again in 2006, he was given a four-year suspension from field and track. This time, his previous world record mark of 9.77 seconds in the 100m, established in May 2006, was also overturned. In August 2010, he returned to international track and field, running a mark of 9.80 seconds at the United States Olympic Trials in June 2012, the quickest time by any male athlete over thirty years of age. On July 18, 2014, he won the world championship in the 200m with a time of 19.68 seconds at the ‘IAAF Diamond League’ tournament in Monaco.
Childhood and Adolescence
He was born in Brooklyn, New York, on February 10, 1982, to Willie and Jeanette Gatlin. He attended ‘Woodham High School’ in Pensacola, Florida, where he was raised. He remained the team’s fastest runner throughout school. He used to compete in high hurdles and was a key member of the squad that won the state championship. Gatlin was quickly noticed by coaches Vince Anderson and Bill Webb from the ‘University of Tennessee,’ who gave him a sprinting scholarship. As a result, he enrolled as a good 110m hurdler at the ‘University of Tennessee’ in Knoxville in the fall of 2000.
In 2000, he turned pro and signed a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with Nike, Inc. in professional track and field. He acquired his training and completed the university curriculum under Vince Anderson during the next few years. He went on to win six consecutive ‘National Collegiate Athletic Association’ (‘NCAA’) sprint titles, as well as two ‘NCAA’ titles with the ‘Volunteers.’
After testing positive for the central nervous system stimulant substance amphetamines in 2001, he was barred from international competition for two years. He filed an appeal claiming that he had been taking it as a prescription to treat attention deficit problem since infancy. In the fall of 2002, the ‘IAAF’ revoked his ban.
Career of Justin Gatlin
At the 2004 Summer Olympics, he beat Portugal’s Francis Obikwelu and defending champion Maurice Greene in the 100m sprint with a time of 9.85s, the third fastest time in Olympic history. He also won a bronze and a silver medal in a USA sweep of the 200m sprint and as a part of the 4x100m relay team, respectively.
On August 7, 2005, he won a gold medal in the 100m sprint, defeating 2003 winner Kim Collins in a timing of 9.88 seconds at the 2005 ‘IAAF World Championships in Athletics’ held in Helsinki, Finland. Gatlin achieved the Olympic-World Championship double in the absence of Asafa Powell, the then-world record-holding sprinter from Jamaica, after defeating his opponents by the greatest margin recorded by any sprinter in a World Championship 100m for men.
He also won the 200m that year, making him only the second sprinter in history, after Maurice Greene, to win both the 100m and 200m sprints at a single World Championship. In the final of the IAAF Qatar Athletic Super Grand Prix in Doha, Qatar, on May 12, 2006, he equaled Powell’s world record of 9.77 seconds in the 100m (set in 2005). Although it was initially reported that Gatlin had broken the record with a time of 9.76 seconds +1.7 m/s wind, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) later revealed on May 16 that the time was 9.766 seconds, which translates to 9.77 seconds after rounding off according to rules.
Gatlin and Powell eventually showed up at the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon, on the request of the track and field community, for a confrontation, but they were unable to reach an agreement with the meet organizers. As a result, the two athletes participated in different heats, with Gatlin winning the event with a timing of 9.88 seconds against Powell’s 9.93 seconds.
Following a relay event on April 22, 2006 in Lawrence, Kansas, he tested positive for a banned drug, this time most likely testosterone or its precursor. On August 22, 2006, he was banned from track and field for eight years. He cooperated with doping officials to avoid a lifelong ban and accepted the suspension because he already had a record of similar doping incidents and subsequent bans from the game. In December 2007, an arbitration panel reduced the term to four years after he filed an appeal. However, his 9.77s record, which he tied with Powell in May 2006, was revoked.
During his four-year suspension, he intended to use his athletic ability in other sports, such as football. On November 29, 2006, ESPN announced that he had worked out with the NFL’s Houston Texans. On December 19, 2006, ESPN stated that he will be a volunteer coach for his old high school’s track team, ‘Woodham High School.’
On May 4, 2007, the ‘Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ announced that he has been accepted into their 2007 rookie camp as one of the twenty-eight free agents on a tryout contract basis. Gatlin, on the other hand, did not sign with any team.
His exercise regimen eventually deteriorated, causing him to gain weight in excess of 200 pounds, compared to his previous training weight of 182 pounds. On August 3, 2010, he returned to athletics and visited Estonia and Finland. He struggled with his start times at first due to his hiatus from the track for a few years, though his finish times were better. With each event he participated in, he made sluggish but steady development.
Within a few years, on June 24, 2012, he won the US Olympic Trials 100m final in a timing of 9.80s. This is the quickest time ever set by a man athlete over the age of thirty. On August 5, he ran a mark of 9.79 seconds in the 100 m final of the London 2012 Summer Olympics, earning a bronze medal.
He ran a mark of 19.68 seconds in the 200 meters at the ‘IAAF Diamond League’ event in Monaco on July 18, 2014.
On May 15, 2015, he improved his personal best to 9.74 (+0.9 m/s) during the Qatar Athletic Super Grand Prix. As a result of this, he is now the fifth best 100m performer of all time.
Personal History and Legacy
He currently resides in Kissimmee, Florida, in Osceola County, where he is being trained by Coach Brooks Johnson. He is a regular competitor on ‘Spike TV”s ‘Pros vs Joes,’ a show that pairs professional athletes (the ‘Pros’) against amateur entrants (the ‘Joes’).
Estimated Net Worth
Justin Gatlin is an American sprinter with a $3 million net worth. Justin Gatlin was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Florida, graduating from Woodham High School in Pensacola. He went on to play two years at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he won six NCAA titles, before turning pro.