Usain Bolt stays cool after losing to Justin Gatlin in 100m shock

Jun 7, 2013

'You learn more from losing. You can't win every race in your career,' says Bolt after Rome Golden Gala

Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

USAIN BOLT suffered only his fifth defeat over 100m when he was edged out by Justin Gatlin in Rome's Golden Gala meeting last night. The Jamaican world record holder and Olympic champion finished second to the American in a time of 9.95 seconds, one hundredth of a second outside Gatlin's time of 9.94.

Not much in it, but nonetheless Bolt will be concerned by how he was beaten at the Stadio Olimpico. In the past his starts have been his weakness, but last night Bolt powered out of the blocks and looked set to storm home ahead of his rival. Then, halfway down the track, Bolt began to tighten, allowing Gatlin to move ahead, and the American broke the tape first.

"The fact I got a perfect start threw me off," explained Bolt, whose last defeat was to compatriot Yohan Blake in the Jamaican trials last year. "At 50 metres I had some problems, but the rest of my race was not bad. You learn more from losing. You can't win every race in your career."

In mitigation, it was only Bolt's second race of the season - last month he posted a time of 10.09 seconds in the Cayman Islands - and he is still working his way back to full fitness after a hamstring injury earlier in the year.

Gatlin in contrast has more races under his belt and last week ran a wind-assisted 9.88 sec 100m in the USA.

The 2004 Olympic champion, who subsequently served a four-year ban for doping offences, wasn't getting carried away by the win although it will do his confidence no harm ahead of August's World Championships in Moscow. "I just want to go out there and fight to the end," said Gatlin. "I'm working on my race strategy and trying to stay healthy. I'm just trying to get my start back and make sure that the middle of my race is good."

Gatlin has good reason not to read too much into the race. Last year Bolt lost to Blake in both the 100m and 200m at the Jamaican trials, only to blast his rivals off the track at the London Olympics. A big race runner, the Jamaican later tweeted to his two million followers: "Fret not myself Bolt world or be worried. Thanks for all the support and believe me when I say #iwillbeback".

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