Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay ready to face Jamaicans at London
By Jim Slater ,AFP
June 26, 2012, 12:09 am TWN
EUGENE, Oregon -- Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay served notice they will be ready to challenge Usain Bolt at the London Olympics in the 100 meters after qualifying for the Games with impressive times on Sunday.
Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion who could not defend his crown in Beijing while serving a four-year doping ban, won the 100 final at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in 9.80 seconds, the third-best time in the world this year.
“I think there's a lot left in the tank,” Gatlin warned. “I was pleased with my time and the effort I left on the track.”
Gatlin, who won the world 60m indoor crown earlier this year, lowered his own season best from the 9.87 he ran to win last month in Doha and served notice he was aiming at reigning Olympic champion and world record-holder Bolt.
“I don't think I would come back to a sport where I'm OK getting second or third,” Gatlin said.
Bolt owns the year's best two 100s, having gone 9.76 to win at Rome last month and 9.79 to win on June 7 at Oslo, and his Jamaican compatriots Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell were also ahead of Gatlin on the 2012 list until Sunday.
“We all have our eyes on that prize we want to get at the end,” Gatlin said. “If there are three Jamaicans we have to get out of the way, that will be our goal.”
Gatlin, banished for much of Bolt's rise to stardom, said he was ready for any mind games or Bolt's trademark archery-styled theatrics at the start line.
“I love entertainment,” Gatlin said. “If he wants to tap dance, that's fine. His lane is as long as my lane. I have to worry about me. If that gets him in 'the zone', that's fine, let him do that.”
Gay, the former world champion who underwent hip surgery in 2011 and only ran two weeks ago after 50 weeks off, was second in 9.86 with Ryan Bailey third in 9.93 for the last London berth.
“I just wanted to make the team,” Gay said. “That's probably all I could ask for right now. I feel like I'm on the way up.”
Gay's time ranks seventh on this year's world list and puts him fifth among performers behind Bolt, Gatlin, Blake and Powell.
This June 2 file photo shows Justin Gatlin, of the U.S., winning the 100-meter event at the Prefontaine Classic athletics meet in Eugene, Oregon. Now 30 and eight years removed ...