Justin Gatlin ran in the 100-meter sprint at the Rio Olympics a quest to win a fifth Olympic medal. A year after the Rio Olympics, Gatlin stunned the world by winning gold at the 2017 London World Championships, beating Usain Bolt in his last world championship before retirement.
The controversial sprinter’s brand has been hurt by two doping suspensions, including one that kept him out of running from 2006 to 2010. As a result, his wealth doesn’t reach anywhere near the level of his main rival, Jamaica’s Bolt. Gatlin and Bolt faced off again in Rio, with Gatlin winning silver and Bolt taking gold.
Here’s a look at Gatlin’s estimated net worth.
1. Gatlin Has an Estimated Net Worth of $3 Million, but It Could Be Twice That
Although Celebrity Net Worth estimates Gatlin’s net worth at $3 million, Money Nation puts it at $6.3 million. The site Net Worth Tomb estimates that Gatlin’s net worth was $1 million between 2014 and 2015.
Money Nation notes that Gatlin could have had a net worth of over $32 million, had he not faced doping bans twice in his career. He was banned for a year in 2001, then served a four-year ban in 2006-2010. That ban cost him millions that he could have earned if he competed at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
2. He Once Won 2 Million Yen on a Japanese Game Show, Where He ‘Beat’ Usain Bolt’s World Record
Gatlin’s personal best in the 100m sprint is 9.72, a time he set in Doha in May 2015. The world record holder in the 100m is Usain Bolt, who ran a 9.58 in 2009.
Gatlin sort of beat Bolt’s mark, but he had some help and it wasn’t during a real meet. In 2009, he went on a Japanese game show called Kasupe!, in which he ran a 9.45 with a giant wind machine to help him out. The wind machine was blowing at 20 miles per hour. Gatlin was paid 2 million yen (only $19740.42 in today’s money) for appearing on the show.
Without extra wind machines, Gatlin ran a 9.8 at the 2016 Olympic Trails. The 34-year-old is the oldest American sprinter to make it to the Olympics.
3. Nike Re-Signed Gatlin in 2015 After Dropping Him in 2006 Following Doping Suspension
In 2006, after Gatlin received his second suspension for doping, Nike dropped their contract with him, The New York Times reported at the time. Nike also broke off a sponsorship deal with coach Trevor Graham.
However, in 2015, Nike made the controversial decision to re-sign Gatlin. That deal followed his surprising win over Bolt in 2013 at a meet in Rome and earning the IAF World Athlete of the Year title in 2014.
Nike’s decision did not sit well with many athletes. “I am very disappointed to hear this news,” marathon runner Paula Radcliffe, who also has a Nike deal, tweeted, notes USA Today. “I don’t believe it truly reflects the core values of the NIKE that I am proud to represent, nor the integrity and ideals of the people there that I work with on a daily basis.”
Despite working with Gatlin, Nike stressed that it had no plans to sign Tyson Gay, who also faced a doping ban. Gay, who forfeited the silver medal he won in London, will be running in the Men’s 4x100m relay in Rio.
4. Before Signing With Nike, Gatlin Had a Sponsorship Deal With Chinese Company Xtep
Before signing with Nike, Gatlin had to find a Chinese company as a sponsor. He teamed up with Xtep, a sportswear company founded in 1999. He signed a deal with the company in 2012. He even appeared in the above commercial, where he runs across washing machines.
In 2012, Gatlin also reached a one-year deal with Crispers Restaurant, a Florida-based chain. Part of that deal included making appearances at their locations and plugging the company on social media.
5. Gatlin Tried Out for an NFL Contract, Working Out With the Bucs, Cardinals & Texas
While serving his second suspension from doping, Gatlin tried out for NFL football even though he hadn’t been on a gridiron since he was a Tennessee freshman. In 2007, The Associated Press reported that Gatlin worked out with the Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans. Gatlin, who was hoping to become a wide receiver, also practiced at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp.
“This is where I want to be,” Gatlin said at the time. “I didn’t come here on my high horse, all mighty, and saying give me a locker and let me do what I want to do. I’m starting from the ground up, and that’s where I want to start.”
Ultimately, the dream ended without Gatlin being signed.