Justin Gatlin is not ready to take Usain Bolt at his word that the Jamaican will retire after the world championships in August.
“I would like to buy into [Bolt’s plans to retire], but I’m thinking at this point in time, I’m kind of on the fence about that,” Gatlin said, according to the Nashville Ledger. “I can understand when you have accomplished so much in your career, like him, that there’s nothing left for you to do but do it over and over again.
“You kind of lose that hunger and sensation to be great. He has other passions in his life. So it will be interesting to see what he’ll do next.”
Gatlin’s comments bring to mind those of Ryan Lochte, who said at London 2012 and at Rio 2016 that he believed Michael Phelps would come out of retirement. Lochte was proven right in 2013, but Phelps has repeated his current retirement is definite.
Gatlin, silver medalist to Bolt in the 100m at the 2013 and 2015 Worlds and 2016 Olympics, has repeated that he plans to try for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at age 38.
He would be older than any previous U.S. Olympic sprinter (Gail Devers, 37, in 2004).
But Gatlin’s declining times this season make him no sure thing to make this year’s world championships team in the 100m. The top three at the U.S. Championships in three weeks earn those spots.
Bolt, meanwhile, has no such worry. He hasn’t raced a 100m since the Rio Olympics, but he has a bye into worlds as the defending champion.
Bolt reportedly said last month he has four meets left before retirement — Kingston, Jamaica on June 10; Ostrava, Czech Republic on June 28; Monaco on July 21 and the world championships in London in August.
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