Usain Bolt says Justin Gatlin 'getting old' after 200 meters race

0:46 | si wire: rio
U.S. medals in the sand and makes history on the track
Thursday August 18th, 2016

Reigning 100 meter and 200 meter Olympic champion Usain Bolt says he is surprised that rival Justin Gatlin failed to advance to the 200-meter final on Thursday.

"Everybody's in shock," Bolt told BBC Radio 5 Live. "You can tell from the 100 meters he's getting old. It's a fact the older you get, the rougher it gets to double."

Gatlin, 34, and a silver medalist in the 100 meters, finished third in his 200-meter heat.

Bolt, 29, will look to defend his title after winning his semifinal heat in 19.78 seconds, 0.02 seconds faster than Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse. Bolt wondered why De Grasse sped up at the end of the race making the race closer than expected.

"That was really unnecessary," Bolt said. "I don't know what he was trying to do. He's a young kid. He's great. He has a lot of talent. I'm looking forward to the competition in the final."

Bolt, the world record holder in the event, said "[I] definitely think I can try for the world record." The current record stands at 19.19 seconds.

"But now, it's executing right, running the corner efficiently and coming in the straight and running the perfect race," he said.

Bolt also says in the interview that he has no plans to run the 200 meters in next year's world championships.

"Next year, if I go to the world championships, I'm not going to double," Bolt said. "I'm going to do the 100 meters, and that is it."

- Scooby Axson

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.