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Christian Coleman, World’s Fastest Sprinter, Out For Tokyo 2021 Following Ban

By Chrös McDougall | Oct. 27, 2020, 4:33 p.m. (ET)

Christian Coleman after winning gold at the 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 on Sept. 28, 2019 in Doha, Qatar.


Christian Coleman, the defending 100-meter world champion, will miss the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year after a two-year suspension was upheld Tuesday.

Coleman, the sixth fastest man in history, never tested positive for banned drugs but over a 12-month period in 2019 incurred three “whereabouts” violations for missing tests.

The 24-year-old sprinter had been provisionally suspended from competition since May, and the sport’s Athletics Integrity Unit upheld the ban Tuesday, giving Coleman the full two-year suspension for first-time offenders. In its report, the AIU said Coleman’s “attitude to his obligations can fairly be described as entirely careless, perhaps even reckless.”

Coleman, who is eligible to return May 13, 2022, could still appeal the ban through the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The ban is a major blow to an athlete expected to be one of Team USA’s brightest stars in the postponed Tokyo Games.

A native of Atlanta, Coleman rose to prominence at the University of Tennessee and made his Olympic debut as a 20-year-old in 2016 in Rio. One year later, he broke out on the international level, winning silver medals in the 100- and 4x100-meter races at the 2017 world championships. Two years later he won gold in both events.

No man posted faster 100-meter times than Coleman in 2017, 2018 or 2019.

The men’s 100-meter has long been a glamour race at the Olympics, and past U.S. winners of the event include iconic Olympians such as Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis. However, in recent years, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt has dominated the competition, winning each of the past three Olympic gold medals.

Justin Gatlin was the last U.S. winner, taking gold in 2004. Now 38, Gatlin remains a world class sprinter and finished second behind Coleman at the 2019 world championships. Noah Lyles, who won the 200-meter world title in 2019, could be another contender in Tokyo.

Chrös McDougall

Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic and Paralympic movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

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Christian Coleman