“Trauma”- Justin Gatlin Admits Being the ‘Bad Guy’ to Usain Bolt for Media Affected Him

Published 10/30/2021, 11:25 AM EDT
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 05: Justin Gatlin of the United States kneels on the track following his win in the Men’s 100 metres final in 9.92 seconds during day two of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 at The London Stadium on August 5, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)


American sprinting legend Justin Gatlin had a fair share of ups and downs in his career. Regardless, he had a rewarding career and was the biggest competitor of Usain Bolt.

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Despite his stellar runs, Gatlin had faced a lot of criticism for his controversy and rivalry with Bolt. 39-year-old, Justin has finally opened up about how it felt to face backlash and be called a “villain.”

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Justin Gatlin on the negativity he faced being the rival of Usain Bolt

The intense and fiery rivalry between Bolt and Gatlin started in 2004 when Bolt featured in his maiden Olympics. Notably, Gatlin was the man who defeated Bolt in his first Olympic race, and the last race of his career. However, Bolt has grabbed more love and respect worldwide.

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 05: Justin Gatlin of the United States is congratulated by Usain Bolt of Jamaica following his win in the Men’s 100 metres final in 9.92 seconds during day two of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 at The London Stadium on August 5, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Gatlin had faced a lot of bumps in his career, but he kept going. In 2006, Gatlin had a major setback, as he was banned for eight years. American sprinter talked about the trauma he had to go through because of the ban and being Bolt’s rival.

Gatlin said, ” You know when people go through trauma, they kind of like compartmentalize you know their personality and their feelings emotions. And that’s what left me there, like being taken as the villain, and not having any way to justify me to me not being a villain, so I had to like, step to the occasion.

He further added, “It may be the trauma from articles and reading newspapers and people judging me on not even knowing me.” 

Gatlin did not let it affect him negatively

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American sprinter did not let the negativity affect his performance. Inspiringly, Justin Gatlin is still running while Bolt has already hanged his spikes.

Gatlin further revealed how it helped him change his personality. “It made me create a whole different personality. It made me become this figure on the track that had to protect my whole essence and what I mean by that is I think a lot of people in that situation would have crumbled have just nor even come back into track and field for one, and would have never stepped up to the challenge race against the fastest man in history too.”

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 05: Justin Gatlin of the United States raises a finger to his lips to following his win in the Men’s 100 metres final in 9.92 seconds during day two of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 at The London Stadium on August 5, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The five-time Olympic medalist has inspired many young athletes with his unstoppable energy. While he had setbacks, no one can take away the legacy he created for American athletes to look up to.

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DIVE DEEPER

Nigerian Reporter Tells Usain Bolt He Won Because Gatlin “Made a Mistake”

about 2 months ago

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Shreya Verma

412 articles

Shreya Verma is a US Sports writer at EssentiallySports. A post-graduation student in political science, Shreya is also a professional 10m air pistol shooter. Taking after her athlete father, she was naturally inclined towards the athletic life.

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