Road To The Olympic Games

Track and Field

American sprint star Christian Coleman could face ban after missing multiple drug tests: report

Two people familiar with the case tell The Associated Press that gold-medal sprint contender Christian Coleman's Olympic prospects could be in jeopardy after three missed drug tests. The case is said to involve three "whereabouts failures" over 12 months, meaning it can be treated as a positive test and subject to a two-year suspension.

World-leader in the 100 metres has missed 3 tests over the last 12 months

American sprinter Christian Coleman has reportedly missed three drug tests over the last 12 months and could be subject to punishment. (David J. Phillip/The Associated Press)

Gold-medal sprint contender Christian Coleman's Olympic prospects might be in jeopardy after three missed drug tests, two people familiar with the case told The Associated Press.

The "whereabouts failures" are said to have happened over 12 months, which can be treated as a positive test and doping violation.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because cases are considered confidential.

The 23-year-old Coleman is the reigning national champion at 100 metres. In 2017, he finished second to Justin Gatlin at the world championships — and one spot ahead of Usain Bolt.

The 2019 worlds are next month in Qatar, and Coleman has the world's leading time in the 100 the past three years. He also has qualified for worlds in the 200 metres.

Athletes are required to provide authorities with their whereabouts so they can be tested for drugs without notice. Failing to provide the information, or not being present when a tester shows up, is considered a violation.

Three missed tests trigger the equivalent of a doping violation. Most who get hit for a first doping violation receive two-year bans, but exceptions are often made for different circumstances.

"A lot of athletes miss tests. I've missed tests," says Anson Henry, a former Canadian Olympic sprinter and current CBC Sports track and field analyst. "It's really not as uncommon as people think. If Coleman can give legitimate reasons for why he missed those tests, then he has a case. However, if he isn't clear with his reasoning, he could face a two-year ban."

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which deals with cases involving American athletes, does not discuss specific cases.

With the track world looking for someone to fill the massive vacuum Bolt left in the sport when he retired in 2017, Coleman signed a reported seven-figure deal with Nike when he turned pro the same year.

His main rival in the 100 at the worlds figures to be Gatlin, who, like Coleman, attended the University of Tennessee.

The 200 was setting up to be one of the featured events at the worlds in a showdown between Coleman and Noah Lyles. This rivalry will be one to watch heading into the Tokyo Games — assuming Coleman is eligible.

With files from CBC Sports