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In 2006, 24 year old Justin Gatlin was widely praised and celebrated, holding the title of world’s fastest man. Back in May 06, he was angry at the decision in which he was made to share the title with Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell, but things got a lot worst.
That same year as we all know, he was banned from the sport for 4 years for a positive test of a banned substance which he and his trainer claim were applied on him by a massage therapist sponsored by Nike…At this point, that is no longer the story.
This chapter of the story speaks of a second chance at being great and a second attempt at reaching the heights which he once held on that podium in the 2004 olympics. If you look on the USA track and field website today, there are no sign of any Gatlin stories before the ban was established-but this new chapter in his life is being written every day with perseverance and determination.
It is not clear whether he can or whether he will regain or come close to his gold medal form, but it will not be from a lack of trying. Gatlin has broken the 10.00 mark in the 100 for the first time in a race since his comeback began and is attempting to win another world championship this year.
In a recent interview, he credits his comeback to the loyal support of his understanding parents who did not let him forget where he wanted to be, which was on that main stage doing what he was born to do; and he made sure to be ready for that opportunity when it finally arrived.
He has been humbled by hours upon hours of recollection, aided by the fact that the sport has survived and has done extremely well without him at the helm… so to speak. Usain bolt is now the fastest man in the world, breaking all sorts of Olympic and track records while he returns as a former champion looking for a way in and an opportunity.
Justin Gatlin has lost out on endorsements and the potential millions that come along with them, even filing for bankruptcy at some point and also a failed attempt at an NFL career.
It is not all well of course because the once former world’s fastest man can’t compete in all the venues in Europe, who still recognize the ban; but competing anywhere is a privilege right now- like track and field officials have been quoted saying, “he needs to prove himself on the track first before they move forward”. It is up to Gatlin to make this comeback successful, in fact, this is only the beginning and we are all watching to see what he does next.