Gatlin good for athletics?

Justin Gatlin was booed for winning 100 metre gold

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Is Justin Gatlin's victory actually good for athletics?

By Joe Harker

Boos rang out around the London stadium as USA sprinter Justin Gatlin won the 100 metre sprint, taking the gold medal in what would be Usain Bolt's final race. Although Bolt is a crowd favourite and most would have liked to see him bow out with a gold medal, the boos were not because Gatlin denied Bolt a perfect ending.

The boos were because Gatlin has twice been banned for taking performance-enhancing drugs in his athletics career, the second time only avoiding a lifetime ban because he co-operated with the authorities.

Justin Gatlin's father, Willie, said the booing was "disrespectful to the sport" and praised his son for learning the lessons of his double ban. He said: "For the youngsters coming up, he is trying to help to tutor and help to be good, clean athletes.

"He is trying to teach good character and good sportsmanship about themselves. I don't think he has regrets, it is a lesson learned. Everything happens for a reason and it gives you teaching moments. We have been through it all and we bear it all."

Lord Sebastian Coe, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations and Olympic gold medalist, appeared to be unhappy that Gatlin had won "one of the biggest prizes our sport has to offer". Lord Coe presented Gatlin with his gold medal, but continued to raise the issue of a potential lifetime ban. He said: "I'm never going to close the door on the thought that we could end up one day with a lifetime ban."

Usain Bolt was one of the first to congratulate Gatlin on his victory, while Gatlin immediately bowed in deference to Bolt after the race was over. Bolt believes that Gatlin has "done his time" and his previous drug bans do not mean he didn't deserve to win the gold medal. Bolt said: "For me he deserves to be here, he's done his time and he's worked hard to get back to being one of the best athletes.

"He's run fast times, he's back and he's doing great. I look at him like any other athlete, as a competitor."

Is Gatlin's return and victory good for athletics, or should he have been given a lifetime ban?

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