Tyson Gay's sprinting career of memorable highs and injury-ravaged lows looked doomed to end in disgrace on Sunday when the former world 100m champion reportedly failed a drugs test.
The 30-year-old American, who had run the fastest time in the world this year of 9.75sec, told US media that he had pulled out of August's world championships in Moscow as well as the Diamond League meeting in Monaco next week.
Gay's personal best of 9.69sec in 2009 makes him the joint-second fastest man ever behind Jamaican legend Usain Bolt and equal with Yohan Blake.
In the 2011 world championships in Osaka, the American won the triple of 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay whilst also claiming a 4x100m silver medal at the London Olympics last year.
But in his roller-coaster career, he had also seen his Olympic dream shattered in 2008 by a hamstring injury and the former world champion went to the London Olympics last year having needed almost a year to recover from right hip surgery.
After Gay won world 100m and 200m titles in 2007, he was a favourite for the 2008 Beijing Olympics before pulling a hamstring during the US Olympic trials, leading to a semi-final exit in China.
Gay matched Bolt for the second-fastest 100m ever recorded to win at Shanghai in 9.69 seconds in 2009, the same year he finished second at the Berlin worlds in 9.71 to Bolt's world-record run of 9.58.
In 2010, Gay delivered reigning Olympic champion Bolt's first defeat in two years on his way to capturing the Diamond League 100m crown. But in 2011, he underwent hip surgery to solve several chronic problems. There were times during the recovery when Gay doubted he might ever run again at a world-class level.
"It was a slower process with me," Gay said. "I had a lot of doubts. I tried to tune them out. It was just everything I had to go through. I couldn't even jog until March."
Gay had been in impressive form this season.
He notched a 100m-200m double in scintillating style at the US athletics championships in June and was looking forward to taking on Bolt in Moscow.
"It's no secret Usain Bolt is obviously the greatest of all time and he's definitely going to be prepared," Gay said after wrapping up an undefeated trials campaign in Iowa with a time of 19.74sec in the 200m.
That came two days after he had posted his world-leading 9.75sec in the 100m.
Gay had said he was looking forward to taking on Bolt -- and the rest of Jamaica's sprinters -- in Moscow, which runs from August 10-18.
"I'm looking forward to it man," Gay said. "It's going to be tough, tough on the body, tough on the mind."