World 100 meter champion Justin Gatlin has fired his coach, Dennis Mitchell, after reporters from The Telegraph published their account of an undercover investigation where Mitchell and track agent Robert Wagner offered to supply and administer testosterone and human growth hormone.
Due to The Telegraph's report, Gatlin's previous drug tests will be re-run, The Telegraph reports.
Gatlin, who defeated Usain Bolt for gold at the world championships in August, has denied any use of performance enhancing drugs and announced he fired Mitchell on Instagram. He has worked with Mitchell since Nov. 2011.
"I am not using and have not used PED's. I was shocked and surprised to learn that my coach would have anything to do with even the appearance of these current accusations. I fired him as soon as I found out about this. All legal options are on the table as I will not allow others to lie about me like this. I have no further comments as it is now a legal matter. They will next hear from my lawyer."
Mitchell is no stranger to drug suspensions. He served a two-year doping ban in 1999. Initially, he defended himself by saying that the positive test was a result of too much beer and too much sex with his wife the night before the race. He later testified that his coach injected him with human growth hormone. Mitchell has also worked with USA Track and Field to lead its sprints relay teams at championships in recent years.
Gatlin's agent Renaldo Nehemiah told The Telegraph that Wagner only worked with Gatlin on two or three occasions. He added that Gatlin was not present for any of the discussions of banned substances by Wagner or Mitchell.
The International Association of Athletics Federation's Integrity Unit and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency are investigating the allegations.
One of the undercover reporters posed as an actor training for a film and was offered the banned substances, which would come from an Austrian doctor, for $250,000. Mitchell and Wagner said that the substances were frequently used in track and field and discussed how to avoid testing positive. In one meeting, Wagner claimed that Gatlin had been taking performance enhancing drugs. He later told the IAAF Integrity Unit that “I am not Justin Gatlin’s agent, how would I know that?” Mitchell told one of the reporters that all of his athletes were clean.
"I made up the comments to impress them, led on by a make-believe scenario," Wagner told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "It was just big talk. I did not actually source or supply the substances the reporters asked for but stupidly claimed I could."
Gatlin, 35, has served two drug suspensions in his career. In 2001, Gatlin tested positive for amphetamines due to Ritalin that he had been taking since early childhood for ADD/ADHD. He was suspended for two years but it was shortened to one year as the International Association of Athletics Federation (track and field's governing body) ruled it was unintentional. His second suspension came in 2006 when he tested positive for testosterone and was slapped with an eight-year ban. Gatlin claimed that he was sabotaged by a message therapist. The suspension was shortened to four years after he cooperated with a USADA investigation into his former coach, Trevor Graham, who was suspended for life. Gatlin returned to competition in 2010.
Since 2010, he has an Olympic bronze medal in the 100 meters from 2012, two world championship silver medals from 2013 and 2015 and an Olympic silver medal from 2016. His victory at August's world championships insures him a spot at the 2019 world championships in Doha and Gatlin has spoken about running through the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.