WASHINGTON, March 26: Highlights of their very best moments are still available on compact discs, maybe even actual video tape. When teammates shout out, “Hey, old man” well, they know that’s directed at them.
At first glance, America’s Justin Gatlin and Jamaica’s Asafa Powell might seem like relics from a bygone age of sprinting. In reality, they’re still in the mix and not even a year-long postponement of the Tokyo Olympics is going to shut them down.
“I’m ready for this year,” Powell told The Associated Press in the wake of the IOC’s announcement that the games would be delayed due to the coronavirus.
“I definitely have to be ready for next year.” Make no mistake, they are running out of time.
Gatlin will be 39 when the Olympics finally roll around and Powell, who turns 38 in November, will be steaming toward the same number. Both men were beginning to make a name for themselves in track before a young phenom named Usain Bolt had raced his first Olympics. Bolt, by the way, is 33 and happily retired. Both Gatlin and Powell are “Jeopardy” questions just waiting to be asked.
The last man to win an Olympic gold medal in the men’s 100 before Bolt? That would be Gatlin. The last man to hold the 100-meter world record before Bolt? That would be Powell.
Gatlin won the Olympics in 2004. “Feels like five years ago,” he insists.
Powell set a world record in 2007, when he ran 9.74 seconds. Bolt topped it less than a year later and eventually lowered the mark to its current standing of 9.58. – AP