This year, Usain Bolt’s speed will again be tested, this time in his final Olympics. America’s Justin Gatlin is still chasing after him both on the track and in the media, as the hunger to win grows in the hearts of both competitors. Gatlin doesn’t want the Rio Olympics 2016 to end with him once again coming in second place — he wants to finally prove the dominance of the USA over track and field rival Jamaica, and this is the last chance to prove that on the world stage in the Usain Bolt era.
Bolt arrived in Rio confident, knowing clearly what he wants to do. He wants to conquer himself, and prove that the world hasn’t yet seen the limit of Usain Bolt’s speed. He knows that people will watch the 100m because he is in it. He also knows the stakes are extremely high, as other track and field events, whether record-breaking or not, largely go ignored outside of the track and field world. The Olympics takes the normally obscure sport and puts it in the spotlight, giving athletes the enormous pressure of upholding their country’s legacy.
Usain Bolt told the Guardian how he views the importance of the competition at the Rio Olympics 2016.
“World records are great, but they can be broken. World championship medals are also fantastic, but only in the world of track and field. Outside the world of athletics the worlds don’t really have a big following. But the Olympics – the whole world knows what that is. It is the greatest spectacle on earth. When the 100m Olympics final is on, everyone says ‘Usain Bolt is running. Turn over and let’s watch.'”
TRUE CHAMPIONS!!! It is being advertised as one of the GREATEST SHOWDOWNS IN OLYMPICS HISTORY….. Usain Bolt vs. Justin Gatlin. Going head to head in 3 different races for the gold medal: the 100 meter, 200 meter and 4×100 relay. Get your popcorn ready! This one is going down in the history books! ???????????? The two FASTEST MEN in the WORLD. There can only be ONE WINNER…… NEW EPISODE!!!! You can watch episode 3 of "The Fast Life Of Justin Gatlin" now by clicking the link in my bio! Hit the link in my bio and watch now to see his sit down with HOT 97, his press conference at City Hall, his film screening at BET, his preparation for his journey to Rio for the Olympics and more! You're gonna love it! @justingatlin #JustinGatlin #NewYorkCity #MediaDay #CityHall #HOT97 #FastestManInTheWorld #HistoryWillBeMade #UsainBolt
Bolt sustained a hamstring strain before the races that would have placed him on the Jamaican Olympic team, but of course he got a pass. Jamaica wouldn’t leave their sports hero off the roster. Justin Gatlin still wanted to weigh in on the matter, showing his thirst to conquer his No. 1 opponent both on the track and in the media. Gatlin told the media in an indirect way that he felt Usain was getting preferential treatment that he would not receive were he on Team USA. Then again, if Usain really did have to forgo the Olympics due to the hamstring issue, less people might tune in, and Gatlin would be the top dog.
Athens, 2004: "There is something truly wonderful about an Olympic 100 meters final, and I remember this one vividly. It was a typically lovely, warm Mediterranean evening and as the runners took their marks, the sell-out crowd hushed so much that I could hear my heart pounding. Someone once told me better to be a lucky photographer than a good one. I used up a lot of luck that night and honestly think I was as happy as Justin Gatlin when I saw I had the picture." -Dylan Martinez @dylanjmz #justingatlin #reuterstorio #reutersbehindthelens #rio2016
According to the Jamaica Observer, Bolt wasn’t amused by Justin Gatlin’s comments.
“I’ve proven myself year on year that I’m the greatest. I laughed when I heard it, I was disappointed, especially in Justin Gatlin.”
Usain Bolt’s speed on the track is expected to propel him to another easy win in Rio, where he hopes to maintain his dominance over the three events he achieved first place in at the last two Olympics. He wants to keep his titles in the 100m, 200m, and the 4x100m, which he achieved with his teammates, some of the fastest men in the world. Gatlin, now 34-years-old, hopes to upset Bolt’s attempt to retire in top form. Bolt is 29-years-old and just about at his peak.
Bolt further told the Guardian the advice he got about dealing with the feisty American sprinter.
“My coach told me to relax, that I was the legend, I was the champion and it was Gatlin’s job to worry about me. All I had to do was what I normally do and I would win. That helped chill me out a lot. I let go of the stress after that.”
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But Bolt will also have to outrun other speedsters on the track besides Gatlin. Sprinters looking to catch Usain include fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake, and Gatlin’s teammate, fellow American LaShawn Merritt, who looks to further impress after a strong performance at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon.
Even when hampered by hamstring strain or other small injury, Usain Bolt’s speed and natural talent somehow still bring victory.
[Photo by Matt Dunham/AP Images]