Skip to content

VIDEO: Justin Gatlin beats Usain Bolt in Rome

Jun 6, 2013, 3:53 PM EDT

141078348.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-large

Athens 100m Olympic champ Justin Gatlin out-leaned world record holder Usain Bolt at the tape Thursday at the Diamond League meet in Rome to beat the Beijing and London gold medalist for the first time in their storied careers.

“Bolt is a great competitor and a great champion,” Gatlin told reporters. “To come out here and have a victory, it just stamps that I’m having a good season… You can never count out Usain.”

Gatlin was clocked at 9.94 seconds – a step slower than the 9.91 he posted in Beijing last month – while Bolt came in right behind him in 9.95, and said, smiling, that he was just happy to finish under 10-seconds for the first time this season. Jimmy Vicaut of France finished third in 10.02.

Bolt, who ran 9.76 in Rome last season, actually got off to a rare good start Thursday – the fastest in the field – which usually spells doom for his competitors. But the 31-year-old Gatlin was able to quickly chase him down, take a lead by the 50-meter mark, and somehow hold off the reigning Olympic champ.

“I got the perfect start. What I wanted,” Bolt told reporters. “About five steps in, I stumbled a little bit.”

Bolt then joked that he had a little bit more strength work to do after he was bothered by a mild hamstring strain earlier this season that forced him out of the Kingston Invitational. American Tyson Gay replaced him there, and ran a 2013 world’s best 9.86. Bolt’s best before Thursday was just 10.09, when he barely beat young training partner Kemar Bailey-Cole at the Cayman Invitational.

“For me, it’s just going through the season and putting things together for the World Championships,” Bolt added. “The season is still very early. I am not surprised.”

Meanwhile, Gatlin is undefeated in five races this season, and has run under 10-seconds four times if you count the wind-aided 9.88 he ran at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene last weekend.

“I have a different feel going into the season than I did last year…” Gatlin told the BBC earlier this week. “I want to go into this season with that same attitude but more calm, more collected. I want to be able to know who my opponents are and what they do and what they bring to the table.”

Latest Posts
  1. Boston Marathon finish line web cam available online

    Apr 19, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT

    Boston Marathon finish line Getty Images

    Watch every runner cross the finish line on Monday.

  2. Ryan Hall returns to marathon racing in Boston, by way of Ethiopia

    Apr 19, 2014, 11:41 AM EDT

    Ryan Hall Getty Images

    Two-time Olympian hasn’t run a marathon since the London Games.

  3. Boston Marathon to move forward with traditional spectacle of a finish

    Apr 18, 2014, 9:41 PM EDT

    Boston Marathon

    All eyes will be on a changed Boylston Street on Monday.

  4. Boston Marathon TV, race schedules

    Apr 18, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Boston Marathon finish line Getty Images

    Universal Sports will have live coverage and is on a free preview nationwide.

  5. Boston Marathon men’s preview

    Apr 18, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

    Lelisa Desisa AP

    Monday’s race figures to come down to two men.

  6. Boston Marathon women’s preview

    Apr 18, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Shalane Flanagan AP

    An American with Massachusetts ties wants to win.

  7. Miracle on Ice hockey player selling his Olympic gold medal

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:59 PM EDT

    Mark Pavelich medal

    Mark Wells previously sold his gold medal, too.

  8. Summer Sanders returns to run Boston Marathon again

    Apr 16, 2014, 6:54 PM EDT

    Summer Sanders

    Olympic swimming champion finished 2013 race before explosions.

  9. Nike, USA Track and Field extend partnership through 2040

    Apr 16, 2014, 4:43 PM EDT

    Ashton Eaton AP

    Deal takes Nike, USATF through next seven Olympics.

  10. Catching up with Bruce Jenner

    Apr 16, 2014, 2:57 PM EDT

    Bruce Jenner Getty Images

    Decathlon champion talks Montreal 1976, Steve Prefontaine and the greatest athlete of all time.

  11. Boston Marathon finish line security visibility increased after backpack incident

    Apr 16, 2014, 11:31 AM EDT

    Boston Marathon AP

    Police commissioner asks spectators not to flock to Boylston Street on Monday.

  12. Oscar Pistorius trial will take break for 2 weeks

    Apr 16, 2014, 8:56 AM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius AP

    Judge will spend break reading 2,000-page court record.

  13. ISU receives South Korea complaint over figure skating judging

    Apr 16, 2014, 4:17 AM EDT

    Yuna Kim Getty Images

    Korea Skating Union is protesting the makeup of judges, not the results.

  14. Boston Marathon tribute, moment of silence held near finish line

    Apr 15, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT

    Boston Marathon Bombing Anniversary AP

    Survivors, first responders, those affected by attack take part in tribute.

  15. Boston sports teams share same #BostonStrong tweet

    Apr 15, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT

    Boston Strong

    Teams’ tweets sent at same time Tuesday morning.

  16. Usain Bolt talks about foot injury, focus beyond 2014

    Apr 15, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

    Usain Bolt Getty Images

    World’s fastest man might not race again until June.

  17. Can Michael Phelps excel in comeback?

    Apr 15, 2014, 11:28 AM EDT

    Michael Phelps AP

    What is the competition like in Phelps’ potential events?

Featured video

Inside Michael Phelps' comeback