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U.S. sprinter Christian Coleman draws two-year ban, will miss Tokyo Olympics

U.S. sprinter Christian Coleman celebrates after winning the men's 100 meters at the World Athletics Championships in 2019.
U.S. sprinter Christian Coleman was banned for two years for missing a string of random doping tests.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

The world’s top sprinter will not be allowed to compete at the Tokyo Olympics after officials banned him for two years for missing a string of random doping tests.

Christian Coleman, who won the 100-meter title at last year’s world championships, figured to rank among the marquee U.S. athletes at the postponed Games.

The Athletics Integrity Unit, which oversees anti-doping efforts for the international track federation, sanctioned him for not being at home on multiple occasions in 2019 when testers arrived to collect out-of-competition samples.

“For the avoidance of doubt, there is no suggestion that the athlete has ever taken any prohibited substance and we wish to make that clear at the outset,” the AIU said in a statement that nonetheless characterized Coleman’s adherence to testing protocol as “careless at best and reckless at worst.”

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Anti-doping authorities have dropped their case against Christian Coleman, but the top American sprinter wants a public apology.

As part of the random testing program, elite athletes must tell officials where they will be for an hour-long window each day. They can be cited for a failure to comply if they do not submit a location in advance or are somewhere else in the event testers show up.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency had previously cited Coleman for missed tests but dropped that case because of a technicality. The misses cited by the AIU spanned from January to December 2019.

In one instance, Coleman was supposed to be at home in Kentucky but was actually competing at the Drake Relays in Iowa. In another, he claimed to be Christmas shopping at a nearby mall. The AIU provisionally suspended him in June.

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“I have never and will never use performance-enhancing supplements or drugs,” Coleman wrote in a social media post at the time. “I am willing to take a drug test EVERY single day for the rest of my career for all I care to prove my innocence.”

His suspension was upheld after a video hearing. Coleman may appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.


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