Justin Gatlin (born February 10, 1982) is an American sprinter and former Olympic and world champion. His 100m personal best of 9.74 seconds ranks fifth on the all-time list. He is a two-time indoor world champion in the 60-meter dash, and won both the 100 meters and 200 meters at the 2005 World Championships.
His performance at the 2012 Olympic 100 meter final contributed to the fastest 100m race ever, which saw three men run under the 9.80-second barrier. He won his third Olympic medal in the 100 meters in the 2016 Olympic 100 meter final, finishing with the silver. At 34, he became the oldest man to win an Olympic medal in a non-relay sprint event.
Gatlin attended Woodham High School in Pensacola, Florida. Gatlin was awarded a scholarship to the University of Tennessee.
In the fall of 2000, Gatlin arrived at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, as a good high school 110m hurdler. During high school, Gatlin was recruited for track by coaches Vince Anderson and Bill Webb who quickly realized his potential and turned him into a sprinter. After training and competing in Tennessee’s program for two years under the guidance of former assistant Vince Anderson, Gatlin won six consecutive NCAA titles. In the fall of 2002, Gatlin left Tennessee after his sophomore season to join the professional ranks. Just two years later, he won the gold medal in the 100m (9.85s) at the 2004 Summer Olympics, narrowly beating Francis Obikwelu of Portugal and the defending champion Maurice Greene. He also won a bronze medal in an American sweep of the 200m race, and a silver medal as a member of the 4 × 100 m relay squad. In the 2005 World Athletics Championships in Helsinki, he again triumphed over 2003 champion Kim Collins, capturing the gold medal in the 100 m.
On August 7, 2005, Gatlin clocked a 100m time of 9.88 seconds to win the World Championship in Helsinki. Starting as a favorite and with world record holder Asafa Powell not competing due to injury, Gatlin beat his competitors by the widest margin ever seen at a men’s world championship 100m to capture the Olympic-World Championship double.
Gatlin also won the 200m in Helsinki, becoming the second person in athletics history to win both sprint distances during a single World Championship (the first was Maurice Greene during the 1999 championships in Seville, the third – Tyson Gay during the 2007 championships in Osaka and the 4th – Usain Bolt during the 2009 championships in Berlin). In the 200m event, American athletes earned the top four places, the first time any country had done so in World Championship athletics history.
On May 12, 2006, Gatlin, running in the final of the IAAF Super Tour meeting in Doha, Qatar, equalled the 100m world record of 9.77s (set in 2005 by Jamaica‘s Asafa Powell), though this was later annulled. It had originally been reported that he had beaten the record, with a time of 9.76 seconds +1.7 m/s wind. However, the IAAF revealed on May 16 that his time had been 9.766 seconds, which was subsequently rounded up to 9.77, in line with regulations. Shortly thereafter, with the track and field community itching for a Gatlin-Powell showdown , the two both appeared at the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon. No agreement could be reached with the meet organizers, however, so the two competed in separate heats. Gatlin won the event with a time of 9.88 seconds over Powell’s 9.93 seconds.
Gatlin pulled out of a meeting with Powell set for July 28, 2006 at the London Grand Prix.
Gatlin lives and trains in Kissimmee, Florida with coach Brooks Johnson. He is a regular competitor on Spike TV‘s show Pros vs Joes, which pits professional athletes against nonprofessionals.
On December 19, 2006 ESPN reported that Gatlin would work with Woodham High School‘s track team as a voluntary coach. He will help his old high school with “some workouts, sprint work, block work, where he sees something and can give encouragement.”
Gatlin celebrating his win at the 2012 World Indoor Championships.
He won the 100 m in Rakvere, recording 10.24 seconds. At the Ergo World Challenge meeting in Tallinn he improved further with a win in 10.17 seconds. His coach, Loren Seagrave, acknowledged that the sprinter’s starts were poor, but that Gatlin’s finish to the race remained strong. Running at the final meet of the Finnish Elite Games series in Joensuu, Gatlin won in the absence of injured Steve Mullings. In Rovereto, Italy, on August 31, 2010 Gatlin placed second with a 10.09 run behind Yohan Blake, who won in 10.06 seconds.
On June 25, 2011, in the 2011 USA Track & Field Championships, Gatlin placed second behind Walter Dix with a time of 9.95 seconds, a season’s best and represented the United States at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, where he was eliminated in the semifinals.
At the 2012 Diamond League meeting in Doha, Gatlin ran 9.87 seconds, defeating Asafa Powell by one hundredth of a second and putting himself as a favorite for a medal at the 2012 London Olympics. On June 24, 2012 Gatlin won the 100m final at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, OR with a personal best time of 9.80 seconds, the fastest time in history for a man over 30. On August 5, 2012 at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, he won bronze in the 100m final with a new personal best of 9.79 seconds, behind Usain Bolt, and Yohan Blake, who equalled his own personal best of 9.75 seconds.
On June 6, 2013, Gatlin beat world record holder Usain Bolt by one-hundredth of a second and won the 100 meters at the Golden Gala meet in Rome, Italy. On August 11, 2013, Gatlin won a silver medal behind Usain Bolt in the 100m at the IAAF World Championships in a time of 9.85. Bolt won the race in 9.77. Gatlin also took another silver in the 4 × 100 m relay, crossing the line in 37.66 seconds, behind Jamaica who won in 37.36 seconds.
On September 5, 2014, Gatlin won the 100 metres at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels with a personal best of 9.77 seconds. He then went on to complete a sprint double at the meet, winning the 200 metres in a time of 19.71 seconds. This was the second fastest time of the season, behind his world lead of 19.68 he set at the Monaco Diamond League earlier in the year. Gatlin’s performances earned him a nomination for IAAF Athlete of the Year. Other athletes responded skeptically to Gatlin, questioning whether he is continuing to benefit from the banned substances taken earlier in his career. German discus champion Robert Harting requested to the IAAF that his nomination for Athlete of the Year be rescinded in protest at Gatlin being nominated.
On May 15, 2015, Gatlin improved his personal best to 9.74 (+0.9 m/s) at the Qatar Athletic Super Grand Prix. The mark was the fastest in the world since Yohan Blake ran 9.69 in August 2012. It was the ninth-best performance in history and improved Gatlin’s standing as the fifth best performer of all time. On June 5, 2015, Gatlin beat Bolt’s 100 m Rome Diamond League record of 9.76 seconds set in 2012. Gatlin finished the 100m race in 9.75 seconds beating Bolt’s record by 0.01.
On August 23, 2015, Gatlin finished second behind Usain Bolt in the final of the 100m at the 2015 World Championships in Athletics in Beijing. Bolt’s winning time was 9.79 seconds, with Gatlin 0.01 seconds behind. On August 27, 2015, Gatlin was again beaten by Bolt in the final of the 200m at the same event. Bolt’s time was 19.55 seconds, with Gatlin coming second in a time of 19.74 seconds.
Gatlin won the 100 meters in 9.80 seconds and 200 meters in 19.75 seconds at the 2016 United States Olympic Trials to become the oldest sprinter to make an American Olympic team.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Gatlin received a silver medal in the 100 metres dash, running the race in 9.89 seconds. Gatlin finished second to Usain Bolt, who won gold with a time of 9.81s. Gatlin also ran in the 200 metre dash but failed to make the finals, running 20.13s in the semifinals.