In another battle of the age-old war between good and evil, good prevailed in the Birds Nest with Usain Bolt beating the controversial American Justin Gatlin to world 100m gold. Bolt was one second ahead of the two-time drug cheat Gatlin, finishing in a relatively slow, by his standards, at 9.79 seconds.
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The race had been billed as a face off between the two, who were going into the Beijing championship in hugely contrasting form. Bolt has struggled for success so far this year, unable to run faster than 9.87 prior to Sunday’s final, which came at London’s Anniversary Games in July. Gatlin meanwhile, has swept away the competition in recent months and had been on a 28-race unbeaten streak, making him the clear favourite going into the final.
Bolt almost didn’t reach the final, as he stumbled in the first 20 metres of his semi final – before regaining his balance and finishing in the first qualifying spot. Gatlin’s semi-final was fairly straightforward, achieving a time of 9.77 – which would have been quick enough to win the final.
The 33-year-old American managed to keep pace with Bolt for the majority of the race, prompting a dramatic last 20 metres. However, Bolt stole a march as Gatlin lost his rhythm, provoking wild celebrations in the stadium. Behind Bolt and Gatlin were Andre de Grasse of Canada and the youngster Trayvon Brommel of the USA as they shared bronze position with a time of 9.92.
Bold told BBC Sport
This means a lot because I’ve been struggling all season, it’s taken me a while to work things out. It’s been up and down but it’s OK now
Sunday’s result shows that Bolt – who is perhaps the world’s greatest athlete – should never be written off. His physical and mental strength coupled with his irresistible showmanship provide a glimmer of optimism in a sport shrouded by controversy.