Bolt, Gatlin through to 100 final at worlds
The biggest showdown in years is on, despite a shocking stumble from Usain Bolt. The Olympic champion and Justin Gatlin are in the 100-meter final at the world championships after both won their semifinal heats Sunday in the most contrasting of ways. Bolt, always the hesitant starter, stumbled out of the blocks and had to chase hard throughout his heat to qualify in 9.96 seconds. The confident swagger ahead of the race immediately changed into a disgusted shaking of the head after the early error almost cost him the final. ''I think I hit my foot too hard,'' Bolt said. ''I just stumbled. I really don't know what happened.'' The Jamaican great had as many as seven racers to catch before winning the heat. Anxious, he spent the last 10 meters looking to his left to make sure he would make the final. As much as Bolt's race was chaotic, Gatlin's heat was sheer perfection - fast out of the blocks, great acceleration and a lightning fast pumping stride before he started coasting. And he still finished in 9.77 seconds, a time Bolt has not come close to this year. It more than showed the challenge Bolt faces in Sunday's final, like overcoming memories of that stumble. ''I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about being consistent,'' Bolt said. At the world championships in Daegu four years ago, Bolt false-started in the final of the 100, the only blot on his record of perfection since winning three gold medals with as many world records at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.