100m champion Justin Gatlin issues apology for doping bans

US sprinter admits London boos 'hurt' but motivated him to win title

(Image credit: Getty Images)

American sprinter Justin Gatlin has apologised for any "wrongdoings he brought onto the sport" after being booed by fans at the World Athletics Championships in London.

Gatlin has served two doping bans, one in 2001 and another in 2006, and was roundly booed by the crowd before the 100m final and during the medal presentation. In an interview with ITV he admitted that although the booes "hurt", they gave him the motivation to beat Usain Bolt and take gold at the London Stadium.

He also revealed he had written a letter of apology to the IAAF many years ago. Gatlin said: "If they wanted an official apology, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I apologise for any wrongdoings or any black eyes I brought onto the sport, I love the sport that's why I've come back to run and try to run to the best of my ability and for that I've worked hard to right my wrongs."

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Speaking about the booing in London, he added: "It did hurt because I'm not there for myself, I'm up there for my country, I'm up there for my supporters, I didn't do it for myself. Especially when I was at the starting line I wasn't there for me. I was there for people back at home watching who weren't able to come.

"Maybe the boos were for me but standing on the podium was for the people who have loved me and my country that I love."

Gatlin, who will run in Zurich this week, says he had concerns before returning to the sport after the doping bans as he just wanted to focus on being a runner. "I wanted people to respect me, to love me, to know that I'm a hard worker like anybody else," he said.

"I felt like sometimes that fell on deaf ears, and it took away from my focus of being a runner because I was so consumed by what people would think about me and judging me, that I really had to just dial-in and just focus on being a runner and let natural talent do all the talking."

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