Gatlin after receiving his gold medal from  IAAF president Sebastian Coe  in London
Gatlin after receiving his gold medal from IAAF president Sebastian Coe in London JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT

After beating Usain Bolt, Gatlin booed at medal ceremony

THE medal presentation for the men's 100m was shifted by organisers to avoid a full stadium booing Justin Gatlin.

As the fall-out from the two-time drug cheat's stunning victory over Usain Bolt continues, the ceremony was moved back an hour to before the start of the evening session when the crowd is generally still filing in.

It was supposed to be a prime-time celebration of Bolt but the IAAF went into damage control, making the shift to try to limit the embarrassment of having the 100m champion booed and jeered through the medal ceremony.

While there was certainly still a chorus of boos ringing out around the stadium when Gatlin received his gold medal, it wasn't at the level in which he was heckled before Saturday night's final.

An additional day had calmed passions but athletics again finds its showpiece event eclipsed by debate over drugs.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe, who presented Gatlin his gold medal, had earlier conceded it was "not the perfect script" for Gatlin to triumph in Bolt's final individual race.

"Sport rarely settles upon the perfect script. Life's just not like that," Coe said.


Coleman,left with Justin Gatlin and Usain Bolt at the 2017 world championships.  EPA/JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT
Christian Coleman, Justin Gatlin, and Usain Bolt after the medal presentation. JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT

"I'm hardly going to sit here and tell you I'm eulogistic that somebody that has served two bans in our sport would walk off with one of our glittering prizes, but he is eligible to be here."

Coe stressed the IAAF tried to effectively end Gatlin's career following his second failed drugs test in 2006, only for court action to see his suspension reduced.

"There have been two bans in the past, one which got watered down which made it very difficult for the second ban," Coe said.

"The second ban we went for an eight-year ban which would have in essence been a life ban - we lost that.

"So these things are suffused in legality."

Coe said he was "never going to close the door" on the prospect of life bans for drug offenders, saying "the majority" in athletics would favour them being available as a punishment.

"We have tried it, we've constantly tried it," he said.

"We've lost it in a mixture of courts and particularly the Court of Arbitration (for Sport)."