Justin Gatlin has issued an “official apology” for his drugs bans after he was repeatedly jeered over them at the athletics World Championship.
Two-time convicted Gatlin, who became the pantomime villain of London 2017 after beating Usain Bolt in the Jamaican’s final 100 metres race, admitted it “hurt” to be booed by the 56,000-strong crowd.
Insisting he had previously apologised over his doping bans, he told ITV News: “If they want an official apology, I’m sorry. I’m sorry
“I apologise for any wrongdoings I’ve brought onto the sport. I love the sport. That’s why I’ve come back and run to the best of my abilities. I have worked hard to right my wrongs.”
Claiming he had written an apology at the time to the International Association of Athletics Federations, he added: “Before the trial, before I was sentenced, I wrote an apology.
“I started a programme where I went and talked to kids and told them about the pitfalls of falling behind the wrong people, staying on the path, doing the right things.
“These are things I thought of doing on my own.
“The letter I wrote, which came out in 2015, it was suppressed for almost six years and I’m not sure who or why they suppressed it but I did apologise.”
As well as being booed after crossing the line ahead of Bolt, Gatlin was jeered when he collected his gold medal the following evening.
“It did hurt because I’m not there for myself. I’m up there for my country,” he said.
“I didn’t do it for myself. Especially at the starting line, I wasn’t there for me. I was there for people back at home watching who weren’t able to come.”
Gatlin said he hoped to be treated differently on his next visit, saying: “I love London. I love London. I enjoyed myself.
“I was walking through the streets and I was surprised by the well-wishers and people congratulating me. It showed me there are people out there who weren’t in the stadium booing.”