American sprinter Justin Gatlin retires at 40

Coinciding with his 40th birthday, American sprinter Justin Gatlin announced Thursday his retirement from athletics, after a career plagued by titles and controversies.

Gatlin, the 2004 Athens 100m gold medalist, confirmed his departure from the sport in an Instagram post titled "dear track".

"I’ve loved you, track. You gave me tears of sadness and joy, lessons learned that will never be forgotten"wrote the athlete. "The torch has been passed but love will never fade".

Gatlin’s withdrawal was long overdue. The New York athlete had tried to compete in the Tokyo-2020 Olympic Games but suffered a hamstring injury in the United States qualifying tests in Eugene, Oregon.

In his career, Gatlin completed a double win in the 100m and 200m at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki and also claimed gold in the 100m at the 2017 Worlds in London, scoring a rare win over Jamaican Usain Bolt in the process.

She was also part of the United States 4x100m relay team that won gold at the Doha World Championships in 2019.

But Gatlin’s career was also marked by scandal, with two suspensions for doping.

The first of these, in 2001, was caused by the use of Adderall, a drug that contains amphetamine. Gatlin had used the drug since childhood to treat attention deficit disorder.

The US arbitration panel that heard his case ruled that Gatlin "did not dope".

A second positive test in 2006 found excessive levels of testosterone in his system. Gatlin blamed the results on sabotage by a therapist with whom she had a financial dispute.

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The sprinter was banned for eight years for that infraction, which was later reduced to four on appeal.

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