Justin Gatlin, one of America’s fastest sprinters, has found himself dead smack at the center of a doping scandal in which he is accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, accusations that the world champion in the 100-meter strongly denies.
“I am not using and have not used PED’s,” Gatlin wrote in a statement posted Tuesday to Instagram, ESPN reports.
According to the sports site, the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the Athletics Integrity Unit for the International Association of Athletics Federations opened an investigation into Gatlin; his coach, Dennis Mitchell; and Robert Wagner, an agent who has worked for Gatlin.
“Investigations from tips and whistleblowers play a critical role in anti-doping efforts,” a USADA spokesperson told The Telegraph. “We are presently coordinating with the Athletics Integrity Unit in order to investigate these claims fully.”
The Telegraph, which uncovered the story, notes that Gatlin and his entourage are now being investigated after, it is claimed, members of “his team offered to provide prescriptions in a false name and smuggle the substances to the United States.”
The Telegraph reports that Mitchell and Wagner offered undercover reporters posing as actors access to the drugs and were willing to “supply and administer testosterone human growth hormone.” The products were to be provided via a doctor in Austria. The total fee for the project was to be $250,000.
Gatlin’s agent Renaldo Nehemiah claimed that Wagner didn’t work with Gatlin long, noting only occasional work and citing maybe two or three times in which they actually worked together. Nehemiah added that Gatlin was never around when Wagner or Mitchell supposedly talked about banned substances. The report also notes that Mitchell was fired Monday shortly after the story was published.
ESPN reports that the 35-year-old runner has a history with banned substances and was banned from the sport for a positive test in 2006. “He also served a one-year suspension while at the University of Tennessee for a stimulant said to be in his prescribed attention deficit disorder medication,” ESPN reports.