A five-time Olympic medalist, Justin Gatlin's personal best of 9.74 seconds ranks fifth on the all-time list of male 100-metre athletes. He is a two-time 100m World Champion and a two-time indoor world champion in the 60-metre dash in 2003 and 2012, and won both the 100 metres and, 200 metres at the 2005 World Championships.
In 2001, Gatlin incurred a two-year ban from athletics for testing positive for a banned substance; this ban was then later reduced to one year because of an appeal. In 2006, he incurred a further four-year ban (originally an eight-year ban) from track and field for testing positive for a banned substance, with this sanction erasing his then-world-record time of 9.77 seconds in the 100 metres. Gatlin began competing again in August 2010, soon after his eligibility was reinstated. In June 2012 at the US Olympic trials, Gatlin ran a time of 9.80 seconds, which was the fastest-ever time recorded for a man over the age of 30. His continued elite-level career after serving bans for two doping offences made him a controversial figure in the sport.
Gatlin won the gold medal in the 100 metres at the 2004 Olympics. After not competing in the 2008 Olympics due to suspension, he ran a time of 9.79 seconds in the 100 metres final at the London 2012 Olympics, earning a bronze medal. His performance at the 2012 Olympic 100-metre final contributed to the fastest 100-metre race in history, which saw the three medal winners, Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Gatlin all run under 9.80 seconds. He won his third Olympic medal in the 100 metres in the 2016 Olympic 100-metre final, finishing with the silver. At 34, he became the oldest man to win an Olympic medal in a non-relay sprint event. At the age of 35, Gatlin won the gold medal in the 100 metres at the 2017 World Championships, a full 12 years after his first triumph in the event; in doing so, he defeated three-time world and Olympic champion, also world record holder, Usain Bolt in the latter's final individual race at the 2017 World Championships in Athletics in London.
At the 2019 World Championships in Athletics held in Doha, Qatar, Gatlin won the silver medal in the 100m in a time of 9.89, behind his compatriot Christian Coleman who won gold in 9.76 seconds. Gatlin's silver medal at the 2019 World Championships has made him the most decorated 100m sprinter in World Championship history, with a record of five individual 100m medals at the World Championships, surpassing Usain Bolt's haul of four.