Justin Gatlin has brushed off criticism by swimmer Lilly King after she stated her belief the sprinter should not be allowed to compete at Rio 2016.
Justin Gatlin has brushed off criticism from swimmer Lilly King after she stated her belief the sprinter should not be allowed to compete at Rio 2016.
Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100 metre champion, remains a controversial figure on the athletics circuit having twice served doping bans during his career.
King, who won gold in the 100 metre breaststroke for United States, has been vocal in her criticism of Russian rival Yulia Efimova - winner of silver in that event.
Efimova was handed a 16-month doping ban in 2013 but was cleared to compete in Rio following an appeal after the IOC had issued a ruling preventing any Russian athlete with a doping sanction to their name from featuring in Brazil.
King was asked about the presence of Gatlin and fellow sprinter Tyson Gay - who has also previously served a doping ban - on the US team and said: "Do I think people caught for doping offenses should be on the team? No."
But Gatlin is unconcerned by King's opinion, saying: "I don't even know who Lilly King is."
Gatlin, the fastest man over 100m this year, clocked a time of 10.01secs to win his heat on Saturday as he seeks to deny Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt an unprecedented triple-triple.
It was a comfortable run for Gatlin, allowing him to preserve energy ahead of the semi-final and final on Sunday.
The American was beaten into third by Bolt and Yohan Blake at London 2012.
Speaking after his heat the 34-year-old said: "I felt good. I think I'm going to have to run a bit faster [than my season's best of 9.80 seconds] to win this medal."