Justin Gatlin continued his blazing start to the season, winning a 100m in Rome in 9.75 seconds on Thursday.
Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion five years removed from a four-year doping ban, beat the second-place finisher, France’s Jimmy Vicaut, by .23.
Usain Bolt, who hasn’t run faster than 9.98 since 2013 and missed much of last season due to injury, was not in the Rome field.
Gatlin, who ran a personal best 9.74 at age 33 in Doha on May 15, is the only man to break 9.80 since Bolt won the 2013 World title in 9.77. Gatlin has done so three times in that span.
“I feel confident running times around 9.70s,” Gatlin said, according to the IAAF. “I do not think of beating Usain Bolt now because the [World] Championships is not tomorrow. … 9.6 should be possible in the summer.”
In other events Thursday, an anticipated 100m hurdles race fell apart. Australian Olympic champion Sally Pearson crashed to the track coming off the fifth hurdle and suffered a dislocated wrist plus two fractures, according to Australia’s track and field federation.
U.S. World champion Brianna Rollins hit the seventh and eighth hurdles, falling after the latter.
American Jasmin Stowers, the fastest in the world this year, lost control and ran into the ninth hurdle.
American Sharika Nelvis emerged to win in a personal-best 12.52, defeating 2008 U.S. Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson by .07.
“I ran my own race and did not see any of those three falls,” Nelvis said, according to the IAAF.
In the 200m, U.S. champion Jeneba Tarmoh won in 22.77, against a field that did not include Olympic champion Allyson Felix or Jamaican World champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Fraser-Pryce pulled out after warm-ups due to a reported hamstring injury. Felix owns the fastest time in the world this year — 21.98 from May 15.
U.S. champion Francena McCorory prevailed in the 400m in 50.36. The race did not include Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross or Felix, who are the two fastest women this year.
American Jenny Simpson, the 2014 Diamond League champion, edged the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan by .37 in the 1500m with a final straightaway pass in a battle between two favorites going into the World Championships in Beijing in August.
U.S. champion Johnny Dutch took the 400m hurdles in 48.13, which was .04 off the fastest time in the world this year by countryman Bershawn Jackson on May 15. Jackson was not in Rome. The 10 fastest times in the world this year are shared among four Americans, including Olympic and World silver medalist Michael Tinsley.
The Diamond League moves to Birmingham, Great Britain, for a meet Sunday.