In preparation for the Olympic Games, U.S. sprint champion Justin Gatlin marked his territory in his first ever trip to Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, winning the annual Mano a Mano sprint championship in 10.19 seconds.
Gatlin’s showdown with Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt is likely to be one of the biggest rivalries of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, as Bolt attempts an unprecedented ´triple-triple´ – retaining the 100m, 200m and 4×100m championships.
But Gatlin has downplayed his rivalry with Bolt.
I want it to be one of the most exciting races in track and field history.
“I haven’t talked to Bolt obviously about this being our last Olympics together, but I think at the end of the day we have the utmost respect for each other when it comes to competition and I just want to make it go out with a bang. I want it to be one of the most exciting races in track and field history, and I want to be able to, not just the fans here in Brazil, but all around the world, to stand still for nine seconds to watch the fastest race ever,” said Gatlin.
Paying tribute to another great figure in sporting history, Gatlin said his sporting career was inspired by Muhammad Ali who died on Friday.
Self-proclaimed ‘The Greatest’ and three times world heavyweight champion was known as much for his activism as his boxing brilliance. He will be remembered as a campaigner against racism, war and religious intolerance.