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Gatlin's appeal denied by court

Sprinter loses chance at Beijing but will still push disabilities bias claim in doping case.

June 27, 2008|From the Associated Press

EUGENE, Ore. -- Justin Gatlin, the defending Olympic 100-meter champion, lost his appeal Thursday to run in the U.S. Olympic track trials and said he would 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.

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.

"Justin was disappointed, but he felt relieved in a way, because the court had finally acknowledged the fact he had a disability," said Gatlin's attorney, Joe Zarzaur.

In a strongly worded portion of the order, U.S. District Judge Lacey Collier chided the USOC and USADA.

Still, Collier said his court did not have the jurisdiction to rule on the case. A federal appeals court in Atlanta agreed in an emergency ruling of its own Thursday.

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