Carl Lewis

Getty Images

Justin Gatlin: I’m the world’s fastest man

5 Comments

NEW YORK — Justin Gatlin is the world 100m champion. Usain Bolt is the Olympic 100m champion and world-record holder.

So who holds the title of world’s fastest man?

“I would consider myself the world’s fastest man because I won the [most recent] title,” at worlds in August, Gatlin said earlier this month at the USATF Black Tie and Sneakers Gala. “But you have to pay homage to Usain Bolt. He has the fastest times in the world.”

Carl Lewis, a two-time Olympic 100m champion, agreed.

“The one who won [a global title] last is the world’s fastest man,” Lewis said. “That’s Justin. He was the last one to win it. You can’t go back two times ago.”

Gatlin has been busy since edging Christian Coleman and Bolt at worlds in London. He started the Justin Gatlin Foundation, which hosted its inaugural sprint clinic in Staten Island in September, and traveled around the country to thank supporters.

He pointed out that he will be considered the world’s fastest man until at least 2019; 2018 is the only year in the Olympic cycle without a global championship. Worlds are held in odd years.

“No matter how many races you lose,” Gatlin said, “you’re still world champion.”

Gatlin’s goal for 2018 is “just running fast.” He plans on entering fewer races but also competing in smaller meets in locations around the world he would not normally visit.

Gatlin, who finished second to Bolt in the 200m at the 2015 World Championships, is not sure whether he will continue to race that event. He has not since bowing out in the Rio Olympic semifinals. Coach Dennis Mitchell prefers he specialize in the 100m.

Gatlin, 35, still has his eye on Tyson Gay’s American record of 9.69 seconds. Gatlin’s personal best is 9.74, set in 2015.

“People always look at age as a factor, but I still feel young,” said Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100m champion who served a four-year doping ban from 2006 to 2010. “I train with young people. I take care of my body. I’ve learned when to tap-out during races and practices. I think I’ve still got a good shot at running the fastest I’ve ever run in my life over the next three years.”

As reigning world champion, Gatlin is guaranteed a 2019 World Championships spot, additional incentive to continue sprinting.

“I’m already on the starting line, and I’ve got to train for that because I can’t throw that away,” Gatlin said. “Then I’ve got to squeeze 2020 out after 2019.”

Gatlin will be 38 in 2020, when the Olympics will be in Tokyo. He is already the oldest Olympic 100m medalist ever after finishing second to Bolt at the Rio Games at 34.

“In a perfect world,” he said, “I started my career with an Olympic gold medal, and I would like to end my career with an Olympic gold medal.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Fastest woman alive retires

Watch Usain Bolt, Carl Lewis, Jesse Owens in the same race

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Eurosport put the three most iconic sprinters of all time into the same race, with technological assistance of course.

It took Usain BoltCarl Lewis and Jesse Owens‘ sprints from the 2012, 1984 and 1936 Olympics, respectively, and superimposed them on the 2012 London Olympic track.

In the Race of Legends, Bolt burst out to significant lead by 50 meters, but Lewis actually closed a bit on him in the latter half of the race.

Their final times:

Bolt — 9.63 (current Olympic record)
Lewis — 9.99
Owens — 10.3

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Bolt would have considered 2020 if he lost medal before Rio

All but one of Carl Lewis’ Olympic medals on display in new Smithsonian museum

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture that will open on Sept. 24 in Washington, D.C., with a dedication by President Barack Obama, will include many items on display donated by Carl Lewis.

The highlights are nine of Lewis’ 10 Olympic track and field medals. Lewis donated a large amount of his memorabilia to the museum in 2012 and 2013.

“I was watching National Geographic [in 2009],” Lewis said, according to Fox Sports in Houston. “The curator came on and talked about the new African American Museum. So I said, ‘What if I just left my medals to them?’ If I did that people could see them. No one would have to ask me where they are. Then everyone could enjoy them. To me it isn’t that I’m giving the medals away. It’s that I’m sharing them.”

The Olympic medal not on display in the museum is Lewis’ 1984 Olympic 100m gold, which has rested in his father’s casket for 29 years.

MORE: Carl Lewis criticizes U.S. relay coaching