Justin Gatlin has beaten world record holder Usain Bolt in the men’s 100m at the world athletics championships in London.
Bolt finished third behind Gatlin’s fellow American Christian Coleman.
Gatlin knows what Bolt has meant to the sport, graciously bowing in admiration in front of him — even after beating him. The two men, never really friends, warmly embraced and spoke.
“It’s just so surreal right now,” Gatlin said. “Usain has accomplished so much in our sport and inspired others.”
When his victory sank in, Gatlin let out an almighty roar and then put a finger in front of his mouth for silence as the crowd continued to show him disrespect.
It was an amazing turnaround for Justin, who was the Olympic champion in 2004 (and world champ in 2005) before Bolt emerged and won an unprecedented three consecutive 100-meter titles at the Olympics. Thirteen years later, Gatlin bounced back to win in the Jamaican’s last individual race.
In between, Justin’s career was stopped for doping suspensions. Yet fighting controversy all the way since, he got perhaps his greatest gold at 35.
“It was almost like 2004 all over again,” He said. “I won by a little margin, and to be able to come across the line is amazing.”
The 60,000-sellout crowd at the Olympic Stadium, ready for a party in a race they were convinced Bolt would win, had to acknowledge a champion they relentlessly booed over the opening two days of the championships.
When the results were confirmed, Gatlin – who has twice served lengthy bans after testing positive for banned substances – was booed loudly by the crowd.
Bolt is likely to make his final track appearance on Saturday, August 12, in the men’s 4x100m relay final.