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Christian Coleman cannot be face of athletics after missed tests – Michael Johnson

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Michael Johnson: Christian Coleman can never be the face of athletics
2019 World Athletics Championships
Venue: Khalifa International Stadium, Doha Dates: 27 September-6 October
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website and app; Listen live on BBC Radio 5 Live; Live streams, clips and text commentary online.

Sprinter Christian Coleman cannot be the face of athletics following the controversy over his missed drugs tests, says US legend Michael Johnson.

“Most athletes have a network of support around them to remind them, so one missed whereabouts should ring serious alarm bells,” he said.

“The decision that Wada and the US Anti-Doping Agency took, to review those regulations and to make sure there’s no anomalies, I am glad they reviewed that.

“It’s a grown-up, sensible approach. I am pleased Coleman is here and I want to make sure he is given every opportunity to be one of the faces of these championships.

“We have to be very careful not to play fast and loose with the reputation of athletes.”


What was Coleman accused of and why was charge dropped?

The US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) said Coleman had missed drugs tests on 6 June last year, and 16 January and 26 April this year – with three missed tests in a 12-month triggering an automatic one-year ban.

However, the charge against the American was withdrawn after Usada received guidance from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

The International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI) says a “filing failure” – failing to update details of the athlete’s daily whereabouts – should be deemed to have occurred on the first day of the quarter, so Coleman argued the first of those failures should be marked down as 1 April, 2018, meaning he did not have three failures in 12 months.


“Let’s be clear, Usada made a huge mistake by bringing a case against him when their own rules basically state that he had two, not missed tests, but whereabouts violations, as opposed to the three, and they then had to withdraw their case against him,” former Olympic 200m and 400m champion Johnson told the BBC Breakfast Show.

“In fairness to Christian Coleman, there is a huge difference between positive tests – or even missing tests – and this situation.

“But if you are going to position yourself as the face of the sport and the superstar of the sport, you have a responsibility to always update your whereabouts and not make the mistake that he did in not updating that those three times and then handling it the way that he did after it came to the public view.”

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