Doha: Christian Coleman hit back at US sprinting legend Michael Johnson on Saturday after powering to a brilliant 100m victory at the World Championships.
Coleman blew away his rivals to take the first major outdoor title of his career, clocking a world-leading personal best of 9.76 sec.
The win cemented Coleman’s status as the man to beat at next year’s Tokyo Olympics, and elevated the 23-year-old American to the head of a pack of sprinters aiming to be the new face of athletics in the post-Usain Bolt era.
In the eyes of Johnson, however, Coleman has already forfeited the right to be the figurehead of track and field after the missed drugs test controversy that marred his build-up to the games.
Coleman, however, was unmoved by Johnson’s remarks as he celebrated Saturday’s win.
“Michael Johnson doesn’t pay my bills or sign my cheques,” Coleman said. “So I don’t really care what he has to say.”
Coleman was only able to compete after the case against him was withdrawn because of a technical loophole.
Johnson however maintains that the odour of wrongdoing will continue to linger around Coleman, even if he ultimately avoided sanction.
“It completely disqualifies him, at this point, from ever being that face of the sport,” Johnson said.
“This will follow him, as it should. Christian Coleman was being touted to replace Usain Bolt as the big star of the sport.
“I don’t think that will happen now. I think that fans of athletics don’t have any tolerance at this point for any sort of doping infraction.”
Coleman gave Johnson’s remarks short shrift though, believing that ultimately he will be judged by his performances on the track.
“I think the face of the sport goes to the people who are putting up the performances,” he said.
“The faces of the sport are going to be the people who are putting up the right times and representing the sport in the right way.
“You’re insinuating that something happened — and at the end of the day I did nothing wrong.
“I just keep doing me and representing the sport the right way. Like I said, I didn’t do anything wrong.”