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Christian Coleman Suspended for 2 Years

US sprinter and 100 meter dash world champion runner Christian Coleman has been suspended for two years for missing several drug tests in the last year.

The decision came down on Tuesday from the Disciplinary Tribunal handling his case after a virtual trial held on Oct. 9.

World Athletics claimed that Coleman missed drug tests on Jan. 16 and Dec. 9 of 2019, as well as committing a filing failure on April 26 of that same year. Coleman did not dispute the alleged missed test from January, but did contest the filing failure and second missed test allegation, unsuccessfully.

Coleman claimed that during the one hour window on Dec. 9 in which he was supposed to be tested at his home that he was out Christmas shopping, and returned within the time window. 

The evidence that World Athletics presented seemed to prove that there were two individuals at Coleman’s house for the full hour to administer the test, and never crossed paths with Coleman. They claimed to have rung the doorbell every 10 minutes. The key piece of evidence presented was a picture taken at 8:21, six minutes beyond the window, from the individuals’ car of Coleman’s name plate on his house.

A receipt from that night was also presented at the trial from Walmart, determined to be from 8:22, when Coleman claimed he already returned. His response to this newly presented evidence was that he went back out again, after returning for the test. This was deemed unlikely by the Disciplinary Tribunal given the timeline though. 

There has been no evidence suggesting that Coleman has taken any banned substances, and has never failed a drug test in his career. Nevertheless, rule 2.4 of the World Athletics Rules states that any combination of three or more missed tests and/or filing failures within a 12 month period by an athlete makes them susceptible to punishment.

This suspension leaves Coleman ineligible to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where he was considered the favorite to take home the gold in the 100 meter. He also would have likely been a member of America’s 4×100 relay team at the Olympics.

Coleman has 30 days to appeal his case. According to his agent he does plan to do just that. “This will be resolved well before the U.S. Olympic Trials” said Coleman’s lawyer in an email. 

For now, Coleman does not have any major competitions until the spring. As of now the U.S. Olympic Trials are set to begin on June 18, with the Olympics set to begin in August.

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