US sprinter Justin Gatlin said he was “hungry” for success yesterday as he prepares to take on Usain Bolt for what would be a highly controversial second Olympic crown.

Gatlin has twice served doping bans in his career, meaning a 100m or 200m win against the popular Bolt would be polarising — especially after Russia’s athletics team was suspended over a drug scandal.

Gatlin, 34, has set the two fastest times this year and he is a real threat to two-time defending champion Bolt, whose build-up has been troubled by a hamstring injury.

He said he was taking a simple approach to what will be his third Olympics, after he won the 100m in 2004, missed 2008 with a drug ban, and returned to take bronze in 2012.


“I’m just going to go out and do what I need to do,” he told reporters at the US track and field team’s training base near Copacabana.

“This Olympics is going to be special. I know everyone’s going to bring their A-game so I’ve got to make sure I’m ready.”

When asked how he was feeling, Gatlin told reporters: “Hungry.”

“This is my third Olympics, so I’m bringing the fun, care-free Justin Gatlin from 2004 and the honoured-to-be-here Justin Gatlin from 2012 kind of mixed together,” he said.

“When I go out there I’m just going to celebrate and have a great time.”

Gatlin set personal bests over both the 100m and 200m last year, raising eyebrows after Norwegian researchers found in 2014 that the effects of performance-enhancing drugs could last for decades.

He looked favourite to beat Bolt at last year’s World Championships over 100m, but was ultimately undone in both sprints by commanding performances from the Jamaican.

It was perhaps just as well after Britain’s Sebastian Coe, now head of athletics body the International Association of Athletics Federations, said the prospect of giving Gatlin a World Championships gold medal made him “queasy”.

But Gatlin said he was inspired to continue competing by fans urging him on through social media.

“The fans, just giving well-wishes through social media, just hoping I come out here and do what I need to do as an American and as an athlete,” he said, when asked how he found the drive to stay at the top of his sport.

“That’s what gives me the drive to keep going forward.”

Gatlin is not America’s only drug-tainted sprinter. LaShawn Merritt — who served a 21-month ban for testing positive for a banned steroid in 2010 — could threaten Bolt over 200m.

And Tyson Gay returns as a member of the 4x100m relay squad after completing a one-year suspension for testing positive for a banned steroid.


  1. Hail sweetest yawdy!mek sure yuh a moggle inna ur bandana dress! 🙂 did u know all of bolt rivals are convicted drug cheats including our very own yohan blake#fact.we need the clean bolt to win to preserve the integrity of the sport!

  2. Blake fi di win. I r not convinced Bolt is in top form. Blake fi di 100, bolt fi di 200. JA fi di 4 x 100. Makka fi di 110 hurdles. Medal fi stone dawg!!

  3. Blake needs a likkle shine. I hope he wins. He’s a nice guy. Everytime you hear about him he is giving thanks to the almighty or doing some amazing charity work. Me love im

  4. Gatlin needs to worry abt Blake, before Usain. I am picking Blake for the win. He has been out with injury for too long and he’s driven, ambitious and hungry. He is a World champ, an Olympic silver medalist, now he is hungry for the Olympic gold, he’s going to give it his all, plus he’s the only one Bolt really fears.

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