Gatlinís appeal rejected
By Eddie Pells
EUGENE, Ore. ó Justin Gatlinís pursuit of Olympic gold in Beijing is really over now. His fight against the powers that banned him from the games ó well, that will be more like a marathon than a sprint.
The defending 100-meter champion lost his appeal Thursday to run in the U.S. Olympic track trials and said he will not take the case to the Supreme Court, meaning there are no more back doors or last-second maneuvers that could land him in China in six weeks.
But he will continue to seek monetary and other damages from the U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and other defendants, saying they discriminated against him because his first doping violation, in 2001, was for taking prescribed medication to treat attention deficit disorder.
Because that penalty was on the books, his second violation in 2006 triggered the suspension that has barred him from Beijing.
Earlier this month, the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld that ban.
In the lawsuit, Gatlin said banning him from Olympic trials violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Gatlin claims he has never intentionally doped.
iJustin was disappointed, but he felt relieved in a way because the court had finally acknowledged the fact he had a disability,î said Gatlinís attorney, Joe Zarzaur. iThe judge made it very clear that they were the party at fault, not him.î
Indeed, in the most strongly worded portion of an order that actually went against Gatlin, U.S. District Judge Lacey Collier chided the USOC and USADA.
iThe basic argument from these defendants is that they are not interested in fairness for Mr. Gatlin; they are interested only in their rules,î Collier wrote.
Still, Collier said his court did not have the jurisdiction to rule on a case involving how the USOC chooses members of its Olympic team. A federal appeals court in Atlanta agreed in an emergency ruling of its own Thursday.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Gatlin hasnít shown he meets the iapplicable standard for such an injunction.î
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