Christian Coleman at the IAAF World Indoor Championships. Photo: Stephen Pond/Getty Images for IAAF
American sprinter Christian Coleman, the world's 100 meter champion and a favorite to win gold next summer in Tokyo, has been provisionally suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for anti-doping violations.
Worth noting: Coleman has never failed a single drug test in his career; rather, these violations pertain to "whereabouts failures," which means he either missed a test or neglected to file the proper paperwork with the AIU.
- Jan. 16: Coleman misses a test after losing track of time at the gym.
- April 26: Coleman misses a deadline to file his quarterly paperwork.
- Dec. 9: Coleman misses another test; his third infraction in less than 12 months, triggering a suspension.
- Dec. 11: Coleman passes his test.
What he's saying: On Tuesday, Coleman posted on Twitter explaining that he was just five minutes away shopping for Christmas presents on Dec. 9, the night in question.
- He also claims the missed-test report "put down the wrong address, so who knows if he even came to my spot" and questioned why no one tried calling him when he's been contacted by phone every other time he's been tested.
The other side: Various other athletes chimed in, essentially saying, "Yeah, it's annoying, but we all have to do it so just grow up."
"Whereabouts can feel invasive and be stressful — particularly with travel. But it is ONE HOUR A DAY, not all day every day. An inconvenience that is worth it to protect clean sport. Going shopping during your slot when you are on two missed tests is taking a huge risk with your career."'— British Olympian Hannah England
My thought bubble: Modernize the process! It's 2020 and testers are relying on physically banging on doors to locate athletes. Everyone has a phone — use it to track location and we can stop with the he-said-she-said of it all.
The bottom line: Doping is a serious issue that must be monitored closely, but when one of the world's best athletes is facing suspension despite never failing a drug test, perhaps it's time to rework the process.