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Justin Gatlin’s coach steps down as U.S. relay coach

Dennis Mitchell

Three-time Olympic medalist Dennis Mitchell resigned as a USA Track and Field relays coach due to a new rule that prohibits the coach of an athlete likely to be part of the relay pool from coaching a relay, according to USA Track and Field.

“I do not want to start a controversy,” Mitchell said, according to Reuters, which first reported the news. “I just want to thank USA Track and Field, the U.S. Olympic Committee and everybody for their support.

“I would do it again if they asked me to.”

Mitchell coaches sprinters including Justin Gatlin, the reigning World Championships silver medalist in the 100m and 200m and likely member of the Olympic 4x100m relay pool.

Mitchell coached the U.S. sprint relays at the IAAF World Relays in 2014 and 2015 and was the relays head coach at the August 2015 World Championships in Beijing.

The U.S. earned one of a possible four gold medals in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays at the World Championships for a second straight time.

Mitchell’s original appointment as relays coach in 2014 was a controversial one, as during his sprint career he served a two-year ban for testing positive for testosterone in 1998.

“In terms of dealing with my past, all parties that were involved were very respectful of my past and, in my opinion, didn’t really use that as a driving force,” Mitchell said Monday, according to Reuters. “But I think there obviously are people out there that have strong feelings about my past ... and didn’t support me being the relay coach.”

Mitchell, 50, earned 1992 Olympic bronze and was part of medal-winning U.S. 4x100m relay teams in 1992 (gold) and 1996 (silver).

MORE: Gatlin still regrets Worlds defeat as Olympic season nears

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