American sprinter Justin Gatlin lost the 100 meters to Usain Bolt by 0.01 seconds at the World Championships on Saturday, much to the delight of much of the track world.
Gatlin was banned for four years after testing positive for testoterone in 2006. When his suspension expired in 2010, he returned to the sport and has been the best 100-meter sprinter in the world since 2013. As a result, the international media framed his race against Usain Bolt at the World Championships as “Good vs. Evil.”
That villain narrative crossed the line during the medal ceremony, when Gatlin had to defend his mother from a heckling while accepting his silver medal.
Video shows Gatlin looking content on the podium before pointing to someone in the crowd and saying something (via NBC Sports):
Afterward he told the Associated Press, “I was like, ‘Hey, chill out with that. Be a gentleman.”
“I could see it in my mum’s face. Because she’s my mum,” he said.
Gatlin, at age 33, hasn’t exactly been accepted back into the sport in open arms by all. When Bolt came from behind to upset Gatlin — who stumbled in the final 10 meters in an uncharacteristically sloppy display — the BBC commentator openly celebrated Bolt’s triumph.
“He’s saved his title! He’s saved his reputation! He may have even saved his sport!” he shouted.
Gatlin’s agent told the Guardian that he’s boycotting British media, specifically the BBC, after how he was treated in Beijing.
Here’s the BBC call of the race:
Bolt hadn’t done much of anything since the 2012 Olympics, struggling with injuries during the period where Gatlin ascended to the top of the sport. He found himself as an underdog against Gatlin on Sunday as a result. With his win, even at the modest time of 9.79 seconds, it’s hard to not make him the favourite going into Rio 2016.
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