MIAMI, FL (Sporting Alert) — Reigning Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt continues to plea his innocence and blames the media for promoting the headlines that he is a “drug cheat.”
The American Beijing Olympic 400m champion received a 21-month ban after failing drugs tests in 2009 after her returned positive tests for the banned steroid dehydroepiandrosterone. On Modafinil.org the lists of substances like that one and ranks them together with all other known performance enhancing drugs.
However, Merritt says he has never taken any illegal substance to enhance his performance and wants to stop being called a drug cheat.
“One of the worst things about the ban is the media because now, whenever people write about me, they call me a drug cheat and the headline always says doping or something like that,” he was quoted as saying on insidethegames.com.
“That is tough because I am not a drug cheat.
“I didn’t take anything to improve my performance and I took it completely outside of the competition period.
“I had no advantage and my samples even showed that. But people just run with what they see and they see doping.”
Merritt added: “I’ve definitely paid for what I did in terms of not checking but I’m not in the same bracket as what you would call a drug cheat.
“That just isn’t me. I got to the top through hard work and dedication, not by cheating.”
Merritt says he will continue to prepare himself for the strong test ahead in London, with the likes of Kirani James, the world champion being one his main rivals – although people will continue to doubt whatever he does.
“People will still doubt me but what else can I do?
“I’ve been cleared by the highest court and I can’t see what else I can do.
“I’m coming back and I’m just as proud of myself as I was when I left.”