A disappointing end to an individual Olympic career to say the least.
He wouldn't get that shot, though, as the American sprinter was shocked in stage three of the 200-meter semifinals Wednesday night, failing to make the cut for Thursday night's final against Bolt.
As one member of the media saw it:
But you be the judge as you watch Gatlin, who ran a 20.13, lose out to Panama's Alonso Edward (20.07) and the Netherlands' Churandy Martina (20.10). Only the top two of each semifinal stage move on to the final.
At the end of the disappointment, Gatlin, 34, had to put his finish in perspective.
"At the end of the day, I think that a lot of people saw how hard I worked," he said, as reported by USA Today. “And I’ve gained a lot of respect from a lot of the fans, when they come out and see me, even people not from the United States, when they come out there and cheer me and give me heart gestures and cheer for USA. That’s all I ask for because that’s what sport is built on: respect."
Gatlin, who earned a silver medal in Sunday's 100-meter final, expects to have one more shot at Bolt, though — via the 4x100 relays Friday night.
Not the same as a 200-meter showdown would have been, but he'll take it.
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