Usain Bolt was humble despite failing to sign off his career with a victory in the men’s 100-metre final at the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships on Saturday night, where Justin Gatlin clinched a shock victory for the United States.
Gatlina has twice been suspended from competition for violation of drugs policy, and the boos were audible at the Olympic Stadium after he and American silver medallist Christian Coleman relegated Bolt to a bronze-medal finish.
But Bolt rushed to the defence of his controversial peer and defended Gatlin as an “excellent person,” saying:
“For me, over the years, he has done his time. If he’s here then it’s OK. I will always respect him as a competitor. He deserves to be here because he’s done his time and he’s worked hard to get back to being one of the best athletes.
“He is a great competitor. I’ve always said that about Justin Gatlin. You have to be at your best and I wasn’t and that’s what I respect about him because he competes and I really appreciate competing with him. He’s an excellent person, as far as I’m concerned.”
Image courtesy of Newsday.