Jeered Gatlin gatecrashes Jamaican sprint king’s 100m farewell party
London, UK - American veteran Justin Gatlin was booed after he stunned Usain Bolt to win the 100m world title in London on Saturday and rain on the Jamaican's farewell race in the blue riband event.
Gatlin, who has served two doping bans and won silvers behind Bolt at the last two world championships, clocked 9.92 seconds, with teammate Christian Coleman winning silver in 9.94sec.
Bolt suffered a dreadful start and could only claim bronze in 9.95sec.
"I'm sorry I couldn't end it on a winning note, but I want to thank you for your support," said Bolt, who embraced Gatlin after they streaked through the line with no clear victor immediately apparent.
"It's been a wonderful experience as always."
Gatlin was afforded the same rough reception as he had in the heats and semifinals, loud boos and jeering ringing around the same stadium where in 2012 his rivalry with Bolt was presented as 'good against evil', given the American's doping-tainted past.
"I tuned it out (the boos) through the rounds and stayed the course," said Gatlin.
"I did what I had to do. The people who love me are here cheering for me and cheering at home.
"It is Bolt's last race. I have had many victories and many defeats down the years. It is an amazing occasion. We are rivals on the track but in the warm-down area we joke and have a good time."
The jeering did indeed continue unabated after it became clear Gatlin, a sprinter whose past divides track and field, had gatecrashed Bolt's party.
Gatlin initially put his finger to his pursed lips as if to hush the crowd, before dropping to his knees to bow down to Bolt.
"The first thing he did was congratulate me and say that I didn't deserve the boos. He is an inspiration," Gatlin said of Bolt.
Coleman added, "It was an historic moment for me to beat Bolt who has taken this sport to another level and who I watched as I grew up. A humbling experience.
"I'm delighted for Justin as we have bonded and become close. I was impressed by the way he handled the pressure and the crowd."
Gatlin has form as the last man to beat Bolt over 100m - by a hundredth of a second in Rome in 2013 - and at the age of 35, can still
produce the goods, something he has in the past ironically credited with his four years of forced exile from the track.
The evening was all supposed to be about the 30 year old Bolt claiming a remarkable 12th world gold to add to his eight Olympic golds in what has been a glittering career.
And what a gaping hole his absence will leave, no matter how brave a face track and field's governing body the IAAF try to put on it.
Of his 19 global gold medals, 13 have come in individual events and allied with a charismatic personality, it has guaranteed Bolt recognition as one of the world's most
Jamaica's Usain Bolt after finishing third in the 100m in London on Saturday