Veteran US sprinter Justin Gatlin set his sights on winning another Olympic gold at the Tokyo Games on Sunday — then refused to rule out continuing his career into his 40s.
The 39-year-old will become the oldest man ever to win an Olympic track medal if he makes the podium at this summer’s coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Games.
And with former archrival Usain Bolt now retired and reigning World 100m world champion Christian Coleman banned from the Tokyo Games for missing three doping tests, Gatlin said he believes he has a realistic chance.
“I hope so — That’s why I’m still here,” he said after competing at a test event held behind closed doors at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium.
“I love making Olympic teams, but I’m not in it for the free trip. I want to be able to work hard and get on top of that podium again at some point, and I hope this year is that year for me.”
Gatlin won 100m gold in Athens in 2004 but was forced to miss the 2008 Games because of a suspension for drug offences.
He said on Sunday that Tokyo would be his “fourth and last Olympics” if he makes the US team.
But he quickly changed tack when asked if he would definitely hang up his spikes this summer.
“I’m saying it right now, but obviously the way my career’s going, I don’t know,” he said. “I’m happy with where I’m at. I’m still hungry for competition, so I won’t say never.”
Gatlin won Sunday’s 100m race in a time of 10.24sec, and said he was satisfied with his form as he looks ahead to next month’s US trials.