DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Usain Bolt is in the rearview mirror, replaced by — what else? — an unfolding doping saga in track and field.
The title of “World’s Fastest Man” now that Bolt is on the sideline belongs to American 100-meter sprinter Christian Coleman, who almost was banned from this month’s world championships because he had missed too many drug tests.
Coleman got a reprieve, but with the vacuum created by Bolt’s departure, the Coleman case placed the specter of doping front and center again in the sprint game — same as it had been for decades before the Jamaican arrived and overtook the conversation with his sheer speed and buoyant personality.
Coleman’s case involved a pileup of complicated rules, confusing interpretations and twisted after-the-fact narratives that have allowed critics to cast both main players in this saga — Coleman and the US Anti-Doping Agency — into a negative light.
Coleman, who has never failed a drug test, nor ever been suspected of running afoul of the rules, will be running under a cloud of suspicion in the minds of some fans and media who tend to paint all US sprinters with the same broad brush — as cheaters, a stereotype borne out of America’s sordid doping past.
Coleman, meanwhile, is assailing USADA for being sloppy and putting him in the crosshairs because of the confusion over the rules.
“It’s a shame on USADA, the fact that this was public knowledge, the fact that they didn’t know their own rules, and the fact they expect athletes to know the rules but they can’t follow their own,” Coleman said in a 22-minute video he posted on YouTube last week.