In what could prove one of the most memorable moments in track and field history, Justin Gatlin is poised to take on sprinting legend Usain Bolt in the 100m finals at the 2015 World Championships. Usain Bolt is set to take on his biggest challenge of his career so far, after returning to the Bird Nest stadium in Beijing, China, as just second favorite, according to bookmakers.
Justin Gatlin has been portrayed as the pantomime villain of track and field in the heat of the build up to the 2015 World Championships. Usain Bolt, however, has maintained that he has “no problem” with the American. Gatlin has been labelled a cheater after being caught doping twice throughout his career.
Track and field has been dogged with several allegations of doping, and Justin Gatlin is seen by many as one of the major recent figures that has sullied the sports image. The 33-year-old American has been the standout sprinter in the last 2 years, setting a personal best of 9.74 seconds and 19.57 seconds in the 100m and 200m. More impressively, Gatlin has not lost a race since 2013.
Moreover, Usain Bolt has been struggling with a pelvic injury, although there are claims that the Jamaican sprinter has taken his eye off the prize in the past two years. But it is worth remembering that leading up to the 2015 World Championships, Usain Bolt ran 9.87 seconds in wet conditions on the London 2012 Anniversary Games in July at the Olympic Stadium.
Even so, the 29-year-old was disappointed with his time, despite the terrible weather conditions.
“I really wanted to run faster, but it’s getting there.”
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) August 21, 2015
Both Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin advanced to the semifinals of the 100m. The pair is expected to advance to the finals of the event later today, which would make for one of the most anticipated track and field finals of all time.
The 2015 World Championships 100m finals could also feature two other athletes, who are considered dark horses. Both Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell are contenders to medal, and both recently served suspensions for doping. The pair also qualified with relative ease in their respective heats, but now, expectations of the pair will be lowered as they have failed to produce their earlier career form.
How will Usain Bolt respond to Justin Gatlin at the 2015 World Championships?
[Photo by Michael Steele / Getty Images]