World 100m champion Christian Coleman is out of the Tokyo Olympics after being slapped with a two-year ban after missing a drug test while Christmas shopping last year.
The US sprint star had disputed one of two missed drugs tests in 2019, saying he had returned from shopping last year on December 9 within the required one-hour window he had submitted to the drug testing agency.
But the Monaco-based Athletics Integrity Unit posted on social media on Wednesday that “the disciplinary panel has upheld the charge and banned sprinter Christian Coleman of the USA for two years for three whereabouts failures in 12 months.”
Coleman, 24, has been banned until May 13, 2022, effectively interrupting the prime of his athletics career.
After the retirement of Usain Bolt, Coleman — who is also the world record holder for the 60m — had emerged as the world’s fastest man.
Coleman has repeatedly said he has never used performance-enhancing drugs. He insisted he was just five minutes away from his home doing Christmas shopping and believed he should have been phoned by drug testers.
The disciplinary committee didn’t believe his testimony that he returned home to watch the kick-off of a Monday night football game which started at 8.15pm and then went out again.
Shopping receipts show Coleman was buying items at 7.13pm and a batch of items at Walmart at 8.22pm.
Athletes have to supply a one-hour window each day and notify them of their whereabouts to drug testers.
“I think the attempt on December 9 was a purposeful attempt to get me to miss a test,” Coleman had said during his defence.
“I’ve been contacted by phone literally every other time I’ve been tested — why would the AIU tell him not to call me?”
But Coleman’s contention that the tester may have left his home earlier than the one-hour slot was disregarded by the integrity unit. The testing agency said two drug testers were at the front of Coleman’s property from 7.15pm to 8.15pm, and one took a picture of the property at 8.21pm.
The AIU said the testers, acting for World Athletics, decided the test should be an unannounced, “no-call visit” because Coleman had missed tests in the recent past, had showed a combination of very good performances and missed tests, and that there was a suspicion he may have been forewarned of previous tests.
“We do not accept the athlete’s evidence,” the AIU said in a statement on its website.
“It is obvious that in fact the athlete did not go home until after making his 8.22pm purchase. We are comfortably satisfied that this is what happened.”
Coleman did not contest his first missed test on January 16, 2019 where he was competing in relays in Iowa but had notified the testers he would be at his training base in Kentucky. However, he has disputed a failure to file his whereabouts on April 26, 2019 as well as the December 9 missed test.
Three failures in a 12-month period to properly file whereabouts information or not being available in the advised one-hour window can result in suspensions ranging from one to two years.
Coleman can appeal the decision.