“It Made Me Sad”- Justin Gatlin Reflects on a Heartbreaking Drop Out From Tokyo Olympics 2021

Published 06/23/2021, 9:59 AM EDT


Age is just a number for athletes all around the world, and Justin Gatlin was out to prove a point as he attempted to book his place for the men’s 100m finals at the Tokyo Olympics 2021. Bagging a gold at the Athens Olympics in 2004, Gatlin faced immovable competition from Usain Bolt for the next 3 editions. 

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With the Jamaican finally out of the way, Gatlin targeted that coveted gold medal but was greeted by heartbreak instead. At the finals of the USA trials, he pulled up short and finished eighth, a shocking end to what may be his last shot at the Olympics. 

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A tweaked hamstring plagued Gatlin as he finished the semi-finals. Determined to at least try his luck, he decided to run in the finals but was beaten to the mark by fitter contestants. He finished more than a second after the first-placed Trayvon Bromell

Justin Gatlin was in tears after his unfortunate loss

Dejected by the loss, Justin Gatlin took a breather in the post-race interview. Although he was heartbroken by the circumstances thrown his way, he was accepting of it. 

“It’s a very rare opportunity that you are witnessing what you are going to do for the last time while you’re doing it,” he said. “And it made me sad, but it made me happy to be here to be able to do it.”

“At the same time, I’m glad to be able to have the career I’ve had. You never realize as an athlete that there’s going to be an end until the end comes,” Gatlin said, with eyes full of tears. (via Team USA)

Gatlin had nothing standing his way for the Gold medal

The American legend was at the top of his game and was poised to win gold despite his age. He placed 2nd at the London Olympics in 2016 and also at the 2019 World Championship. With first placed Christian Coleman out of the way along with Usain Bolt who retired, Gatlin seemed a sure choice for the gold. 

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However, the postponing of the event an entire year took that prize away from him and the hamstring injury in the semifinals sealed his fate. Gatlin finished at 10.87 seconds which was far from his best. Trayvon Bromell has now emerged as the new favorite for the USA, clocking in at 9.80 seconds.

He will have the enormous pressure on his shoulders of winning the USA’s first gold medal in the 100m event since Gatlin himself in 2004.

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Luke Dias

1468 articles

Luke Dias is a senior WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports, having published more than 1000 articles on professional wrestling. Having completed courses in Advanced Writing from the University of California and Media and Ethics from the University of Amsterdam, Luke is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Journalism from Xavier’s College. His tremendous knowledge of WWE history enables him to make past connections, adding depth to the articles.

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