Sprinter Christian Coleman Will Miss Olympics Despite Reduction in Ban for Skipped Doping Tests
Christian Coleman will be unable to compete at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Team USA sprinter was temporarily banned from competition last year after he missed a series of drug tests and hoped to have his suspension lifted during an appeal on Friday, according to the Associated Press.
Instead, the independent Court of Arbitration for Sport shortened his ban from two years to 18 months, bringing Coleman's suspension to an end in November — three months after the completion of the Olympics Games in August. The 25-year-old is the reigning world champion in the 100 meters and is considered the world's fastest man following the retirement of former sprinter Usain Bolt.
"While I appreciate that the arbitrators correctly found that I am a clean athlete, I am obviously disappointed that I will miss the Olympic Games this summer," Coleman said in a statement posted by NBC News.
"I look forward to representing the United States at both World Championships in 2022 [indoors and outdoors], especially the first-ever World Championships held in the United States next summer where I plan to defend my world title against a new Olympic champion in the 100 meters," he added.
According to the outlet, Coleman never tested positive for banned substances and the panel believes he is a clean athlete.
The Athletics Integrity Unit initially suspended Coleman for "whereabouts failures" after he missed three no-notice drug tests in 2019. Coleman's suspension was reduced on Friday after a panel decided he wasn't entirely at fault for one of the missed tests, the AP reported.
In a lengthy Twitter post from June 2020 that has since been deleted, Coleman said he would have been home for this third missed test in December 2019 if the AIU notified him beforehand. Instead, officials allegedly arrived while he was shopping for Christmas presents "five minutes away" at a local mall.
The Atlanta native said he kept bank statements and receipts to prove where he was when officials arrived.
"I was more than ready and available for testing and if I had received a phone call, I could've taken the drug test and carried on with my night," Coleman wrote.
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"I was only made aware of this attempted drug test the next day," he continued, "when I got this failed attempt report out of nowhere. I was completely unaware anybody tried to test me the day before."
The Court of Arbitration for Sport expressed sympathy for Coleman missing the third test and agreed a phone call would have helped in the matter.
"Had the Athlete been called by the Doping Control Officer, he would have been able to return to his apartment during the 60-minute window and a test would have been concluded," they said in a statement following the ruling. "Although a telephone call during the 60-minute window was not required by the rules, it was nevertheless reasonable for the Athlete to expect such a call, as a matter of standard practice among other Doping Control Officers."