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Older, wiser, nearby finish of his career, Justin Gatlin tries to keep it fun

Older, wiser, nearby finish of his career, Justin Gatlin tries to keep it fun

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True Olympic suggestion lies in how one handles defeat, USA TODAY Sports’ Martin Rogers says.

RIO DE JANEIRO — Calling himself “older and wiser,” Justin Gatlin spoke following a pace-setting time in a men’s 100-meter qualifiers about his trail to these Summer Games, that are approaching to symbol a final Olympic knowledge of his mostly hilly veteran career.

“Every Olympics is special, though as we turn an comparison athlete you know a significance of using during a Olympics,” he said. “I’m during a finish of my season, a finish of my career, and I’m only carrying fun with it.”

It’s been a ensign 2016 for Gatlin, 34, who posted a season’s fastest time in a eventuality (9.80) during U.S. group trials final month. Simultaneously, however, Gatlin’s swell to a tip of a general leaderboard has reignited discussions about his mottled history, that includes a multiple-year anathema for doping.

That subject was even brought to a aspect here, after USA swimmer Lilly King questioned either any contestant with a story of doping offenses — and Gatlin in specific — should be authorised to ever attend in Olympic competition.

“I don’t even know who Lilly King is,” he said. “She does swimming, not lane and field, so I’m not disturbed about that.”

The debate over his past use of performance-enhancing drugs will never entirely disappear, and competence strike a heat representation should Gatlin dissapoint Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, a back-to-back bullion medalist, to win Sunday’s final in a event.

For his part, however, Gatlin remained focused on a opposite aspect of his past: his trail from Olympic neophyte in 2004 to today, and how a bronze award in a 100 during a 2012 London Games “was a reset” for his pull for Rio.

“In ‘04 we was only a immature man using and carrying fun,” he said, “and there was no disproportion in any other competition than a Olympics finals. You try to move that same feeling behind as we turn an comparison contestant and only have fun.”

Yet Gatlin has never been influenced by controversy, nor by a doubts and questions that fundamentally arise following each world-class time or finish. Instead, he seems bound on his on-track wins and losses, and how success and disaster have provided a soundtrack for his final high-profile incursion during a Summer Games.

“You can’t forget any race,” he said. “A win or a loss, they are all lessons that we learn to turn a stronger contestant for subsequent time around. Just staying focused on me. That’s what we did today.”

BEST IMAGES FROM AUG. 13 AT THE OLYMPICS

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