Usain Bolt, Justin Gatlin appear unlikely to face each other after World Championships

Usain Bolt, Justin Gatlin

The next installment of the Usain BoltJustin Gatlin rivalry may have to wait until the Rio Olympics, should they both make it there.

Bolt and Gatlin are expected to be part of the Jamaica and U.S. 4x100m relays for their final appearances at the World Championships on Saturday (NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra coverage, 2:30 p.m. ET).

But their next individual head-to-head race isn’t scheduled yet. There are two Diamond League season meets left this year — Zurich on Thursday and Brussels on Sept. 11.

Bolt hasn’t signed up for Zurich, his manager said. His only currently scheduled meet is Brussels, where he is probably going to contest the 200m, should he feel up to racing following Worlds.

Gatlin will not race the 100m at Brussels, the meet director told Reuters.

“No chance for rematch,” meet director Wilfried Meert said in an email, according to the report. “Will be Gatlin in the 100 and Bolt in the 200.”

The 2016 Diamond League begins in May. It’s unknown what meets Bolt and Gatlin will enter. If they did enter the same meets, they could contest different events, like Brussels.

Before this week’s World Championships, Bolt and Gatlin had not raced each other since Sept. 6, 2013. Bolt’s 2014 season was shortened due to March 2014 foot surgery. Bolt holds an 8-2 head-to-head edge over Gatlin, including victories by .01 in the 100m and .19 in the 200m in Beijing this week.

Bolt rarely racing his top challengers has been a theme since he began dominating in 2008.

Countryman Yohan Blake is the second fastest man all time in the 100m (tied with Tyson Gay) and 200m.

Bolt and Blake have not raced against each other outside of the Olympics, Worlds and Jamaican Olympic trials since Blake broke 9.90 in the 100m and 20.0 in the 200m for the first time five years ago. They’ve entered the same event at a meet and ran in separate heats at least once in that five-year span, though.

Blake has cited “big money” for why he and training partner Bolt don’t race each other, though Bolt’s agent has said it’s not about that. Appearance fees and sponsors (Bolt, Gatlin and Blake are represented by three different apparel companies) complicate matters as well.

Bolt and Gay have raced each other outside of the Olympics and Worlds once since Bolt broke his first world record in the 100m on May 31, 2008. Gay beat Bolt in that meet, in Stockholm on Aug. 6, 2010.

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