The establishment of the 100m world record of 9.77 by Jamaicas Asafa Powell in 2005 triggered an international chain of events that saw Gatlin as the major challenger. In 2006 Gatlin showed the world that he was worthy of their support in this regard when he ran the 100m in Qatar in 9.76, a new world record which was later overturned by the IAAF because there was a mistake in the timing. He was eventually credited with the same 9.77 that Powell achieved the previous year in Athens.
The sporting world, always fascinated by the 100m as indicative of the fastest man in the world grew ever so anxious awaiting the seemingly inevitable clash between Gatlin and Powell. Meanwhile the handlers of the two kept the world at bay while seeking an appropriate pay day.
Now it seems that day will never come.
The news of his most recent drug test therefore raised the eyebrows of many and deeply saddened others.
Like so many before him Gatlin denied ever knowingly used drugs for performance enhancing purposes. Of course five years ago he tested positive but was later cleared of the offence. He could face a life ban if his B sample turns out to be positive.
Gatlin is only 24 years old and has been seen as one of two young men capable of ringing athletics back to former untainted glory. His quiet manner and easy-going manner endeared him to fans across the world. This is all the more reason why the latest revelation of having tested positive for testosterone on 22 April at the Kansas City Relays is so devastating.
The Gatlin case has raised concern by many involved in the sport about the role of the coach in the use of drugs by athletes.
While the WADA rules that the athlete is responsible for whatever enters his/her body it seems that coaches are not without some measure of blame in many cases. Perhaps it is time that the coaches are targeted. Not since Charlie Francis of the Ben Johnson scandal has any coach been sidelined for his involvement in an athletes drug case.