May 13, 2006 at 12:41 pm #5195
Olympic and World champion Justin Gatlin set the men's world 100m record Friday at the Qatar Super Grand Prix in Doha.
Gatlin broke the world record with his time of 9.76 seconds with a wind reading of +1.7 meters per second. The previous record of 9.77 was held by Jamaican Asafa Powell set in Athens on June 14, 2005.
Gatlin participated in a USATF media teleconference earlier today. Excerpts from that teleconference follow. His schedule this year includes competing in the U.S. at the Nike Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., on May 28, the Reebok Grand Prix in New York on June 3 and the AT&T USA Outdoor Championships in Indianapolis, June 21-25.
Opening remark by USATF CEO Craig Masback: “Justin, congratulations again. We're so proud of you for what you've achieved and all the hard work that you've put in to work towards this record. It's a wonderful achievement for you to be an Olympic champion, a world champion and a world record holder. We're going to be thrilled to have you back in America competing both at the Nike Prefontaine Classic on May 28th and the Reebok Grand Prix in New York on June 3rd and congratulations again.”
Justin Gatlin: Thank you very much.
Q: How do you feel?
A: It hasn't hit me yet. Renaldo (agent Renaldo Nehemiah) and my teammates are telling me it'll hit me when I get back to America. I've been getting calls off the hook and they're telling me that I'm all over the news everywhere. I'm astounded. I went out there and put together a pretty good race and I put a lot of heart in the race and a lot of commitment to it and it felt good to win and I'm just speechless about it.
Q: Could you describe the race?
A: The race was pretty good. We had a lot of upsets in the beginning. A guy raised his hand, which made us all come out of the blocks. We had a false start as well. I had to stay focused and go out there and put together a good race. I wanted to go out there and execute the second half of the race coming to the line.
Q: What were you thinking at the halfway point?
A: I was thinking just be patient and let myself go through the transition phase and the drive phase. I knew that I had probably the best top end speed over everyone else and I want to make sure I finished well.
Q: Who did you hug in the stands after the race?
A: I hugged everybody. I tried to jump into the stands actually (laughter). I was hugging everybody in the stands. They have a lot of kids over here who are Americans going to school over here, so I gave everybody love and thanked everybody for everything.
Q: With no Olympics or World Championships this year you state that you were really after the world record. Could you talk about getting it so early this season?
A: I think everyone saw a good competitor from Justin Gatlin in 2004 and 2005. I think I'm more aggressive this year in going after the world record. It actually came quicker than I thought it was going to come and that's what I'm working on now.
Q: How will your life will change now that you're the world's fastest human?
A: I don't know how much it's going to change. I'm just trying to stay focused on what I've got to do. I'm trying to go faster than that. I'm trying to go 9.74 or 9.73. The race really wasn't one of my best races that I can put down in my book, but if I can stay focused and not get the big head obviously, and not be content with what I just ran, than I can go out there and do it again. I think the crowd, Americans and the track and field world would love that.
Q: How does it sound? Justin Gatlin, World's Fastest Human.
A: (Laughter) I think a lot of people were saying prematurely, 'fastest man on earth.' I felt uneasy about that at first. I had won the Olympics and world championships, but now I can say I'm the fastest man in the world and it feels great.
Q: You've always been so humble, how are you going to remain the same Justin Gatlin?
A: Just be me. That's all I can do. Nothing has changed about me and I've never gotten the big head from this and I'm more shocked about it than anybody else.
Q: Which was your best race overall, the Olympics, World Championships or the world record?
A: I'd have to say the Olympics because it gave me so much confidence that I learned that I could be a champion and could solidify me in a way that I knew I could be the best in track and field.
Q: How much does this get you excited about facing Asafa Powell next month in England?
A: It hasn't really crossed my mind, I just focus on my race. Any competitor that steps to the line is a worthy opponent and that was true tonight. Everyone's coming out and trying to run fast.
Q: How do you feel about this accomplishment?
A: I'm in more disbelief in the race now than I was with the Olympics or the World Championships. I can't believe it came so soon and that's what my goal was. I know I was talking a lot and I wanted to do it and I was focused on it, but I didn't think it would come in my second race of the season. I'm really happy about that and I'm actually more motivated to run a faster time in New York and at Prefontaine, so I'm really hyped about that.
Q: You announced that you were going to set the world record, do you think you were taking any risks in doing that?
A: A little bit. My agent Renaldo (Nehemiah) told me that I should tone it down a little bit because you're saying you'll break the world record every place you go, but I felt in my heart that I could do it anywhere I went.
For more information on Justin Gatlin, including his complete bio, visit http://www.usatf.org.
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