LONDON, England — It appeared double Olympic 100m champion Usain Bolt had been listening to American Justin Gatlin's seemingly nonstop chatter this season and was secretly hoping to meet him more than once in the XXX Olympiad in London.
In one of what seems like dozens of interviews that lasted well after his stunning 9.63 seconds win, a new Olympic record in the men's 100m at Olympic Stadium on Sunday night, Bolt said he wished he had faced the American in the semi-finals, as if he wanted to shut him up early.
"I wanted to face Gatlin in the semi-finals," Bolt said in response to a question. "He has been talking a lot this season."
Gatlin said in one of his interviews that he has a lot left and was looking forward to meeting Bolt again later in the season. "It's still a young season and there are a lot more running to do," he said.
They only met in the final where Bolt ran the second fastest time ever to become the first man since Carl Lewis to retain the Olympic games 100m title, while Gatlin was third in a personal best 9.79 seconds, declaring afterwards: "I am back."
The American had won the Olympic 100m gold way back in 2004 in Athens, but then served a four-year ban from the sport after his second failed drugs test and missed Beijing four years ago.
Gatlin, who won the 100m at the US Trials in June in a then personal best 9.80 seconds, ran fast in all three rounds here, leading some to wonder if he was trying to send a message.
Gatlin ran hard to the tape in the first round on Saturday, running 9.97 seconds, running hard even after separating from the field, then ran 9.82 seconds in the semi-finals where he was pushed by Holland's Churandy Martina, who ran a personal best 9.91 seconds, both celebrating extensively afterwards.