PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Banned Olympic champion sprinter Justin
Gatlin has agreed to be a volunteer coach for the boys track team
at his high school this spring.
The athletic director for Woodham High School said Tuesday that
Gatlin has frequently donated his time and money to the team since
graduating in 2000.
Gatlin, the world-record holder in the 100 meters, faces a
suspension of up to eight years following a positive drug test for
testosterone and other steroids at the Kansas Relays in April. His
appeal is still pending.
He still shares 100-meter record of 9.77 seconds, but that will
be erased if his doping penalty becomes official. Gatlin won the
Olympic 100 gold medal at the 2004 Athens Games and the 100 and 200
at the 2005 world championships in Helsinki.
The Pensacola News Journal first reported Gatlin would help his
old high school team.
"At this point, his future is uncertain but it could be resolved
in the next year or so," Woodham AD Paul Bryan told The Associated
Press. "In the meantime, we're in the last six months of this
school's existence, and he has got the opportunity and time to
spend a little more time with these kids."
The boys track team has about 35 members. How much time Gatlin
will be able to give them will depend on his schedule, Bryan said.
"He's doing the same thing he's always done, he's just able to
give a little more time,'' Bryan said. "He'll probably help with
some workouts, sprint work, block work, where he sees something and
can give encouragement. We're happy to have that."
Bryan said school district officials approved Gatlin's coaching.