Tennessee track star Christian Coleman “could feel” Usain Bolt coming as the sprinters approached the finish line in London.
But Coleman didn’t see Justin Gatlin until it was too late, and Gatlin took the gold in the 100 meter final at the IAAF World Athletics Championships on Saturday.
“It was all pretty crazy and pretty intense, but I knew it was going to be a great atmosphere like that with people screaming and yelling,” Coleman told SEC Country in a phone interview Sunday afternoon.
“Just with what was at stake, the World Championships, and Usain Bolt’s final race.”
Gatlin, another former Vols sprint champion, stole the show with a historic burst over the final 10 meters to run a 9.92-second time and edge silver medal winner Coleman (9.94) and third-place Bolt (9.95).
It was the first professional event for the 21-year-old Coleman, who devoted his youth to track and football while growing up in Atlanta en route to the University of Tennessee.
“I didn’t have an ‘Oh my gosh I beat Usain Bolt’ moment in the semis,” Coleman said, asked about snapping Bolt’s 4-year-old, 45-race win streak in the 100 meters. “It was all technical thinking at that point. I knew I had to execute. It was all about getting to the final.
“Even though Bolt is someone I look up to and an icon, I feel like I deserve to be on this stage, too, and I was coming here to compete. Beating him just meant I had a good lane for the next race.”
Coleman’s supersonic start put him ahead of the pack off the start line in the final.
SOURCE: Mike Griffith