Justin Gatlin Illness: Olympic Sprinter Ends Season Due To Sickness
United States sprinter Justin Gatlin, treated this week for stomach pains and fever at a hospital in Austria, will miss the remainder of the track and field season.
Gatlin, who earned a bronze medal in the 100m at the London 2012 Olympics, was due to face silver medalist Yohan Blake of Jamaica and American teammate Tyson Gay, who placed fourth in London, at the Lausanne Diamond League meet Thursday in Switzerland.
Organizers at the event said in a statement that, following Gatlin’s hospitalization, “the athlete’s condition has not improved.”
They say Gatlin “has taken the decision to return to the USA, withdrawing from the meeting in Lausanne as well as ending his season.”
Gatlin, 30, began his professional career as a sprinter in the fall of 2002 after winning six consecutive NCAA titles at the University of Tennessee.
Just two years later, he won the gold medal in the 100 m (9.85 s) at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and added a bronze in the 200m and a silver as a member of the 4×100 relay team.
In 2006, Gatlin began to serve a four-year ban from track and field for testing positive for a banned substance, the ban of which erased his then world-record time of 9.77 in the 100 meters. During his ban, Gatlin reportedly tried out with multiple NFL teams, hoping to become a wide receiver.
He was unsuccessful, though, and told ESPN at the time that he had all the necessary skills and that the only reason he did not make the team was because coaches viewed him as a “track guy.”