World Champion Sprinter Christian Coleman Suspended for Missing Drug Tests

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2020

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 20, 2019 Christian Coleman of the USA finishes 2nd in the 200m Men sprint of IAAF Golden Spike 2019 Athletics meeting in Ostrava. - Christian Coleman arrives at the World Championships as the heavy favourite for 100m gold after an impressive season that has seen him clock a world-leading 9.81 seconds. (Photo by Michal CIZEK / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MICHAL CIZEK/AFP via Getty Images)

Christian Coleman, the reigning world champion in the 100-meter dash, has been temporarily banned for missing multiple drug tests.

Coleman issued a statement on Tuesday, saying drug testers for the Athletics Integrity Unit attempted to reach him at his home Dec. 9. He said he was out shopping for Christmas presents at the time and was only notified of the testers' presence at his home the following day:

Christian Coleman @__coleman

Y’all know this is wrong @aiu_athletics something needs to change. “Integrity unity” smh https://t.co/Z2TQvNt8hQ

The Associated Press (via ESPN.com) provided some context regarding the testing procedure: "Athletes are required to list their whereabouts for an hour each day when they must be available to be tested. A violation means an athlete either did not fill out forms telling authorities where they could be found, or that they weren't where they said they would be when testers arrived."

The AIU also said alerting an athlete to an upcoming test "provides an opportunity for athletes to engage in tampering or evasion or other improper conduct which can limit the efficacy of testing."

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency charged Coleman with missing multiple tests last August but withdrew its case in September, which allowed the the 24-year-old to compete in the 2019 World Athletics Championships.

He edged out Justin Gatlin in the 100-meter dash with a time of 9.76 seconds and then teamed with Gatlin, Mike Rodgers and Noah Lyles to earn gold in the 4x100-meter relay.

Coleman's temporary ban won't be lifted until he attends a hearing, and the AP noted he could receive a suspension of up to two years.

That could jeopardize his availability for the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which were pushed back one year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.