USATF Men’s 100 — Coleman Alone As Gatlin Takes A Pass

Christian Coleman forged a massive 0.13 margin of victory over Mike Rodgers. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

IN THE END, the 100-meter final was all Christian Coleman. Fans perhaps had their hopes buoyed for a potential showdown between favorite—the yearly world leader at 9.81, and his 14-years-older rival—reigning world champion Justin Gatlin. Gatlin, however, has a bye to the festivities in Doha, and made it clear before this meet that he was committing to one round here, and after that would see how it went.

Friday’s semis brought the matchup many had been waiting for. First, Ronnie Baker edged Mike Rodgers 10.28–10.32, their speed obscured by the 3.7 headwind. For the second semi, Gatlin set up in lane 3, Young in 4, Coleman in 5. As the wind dropped to -0.1 Coleman moved ahead at midway and crossed the line in a notable 9.96. Young (10.15) and Gatlin (10.16) followed as if they were in a separate race. Was Gatlin sandbagging? Could the final end up being a titanic battle? The veteran answered both questions by packing up his kit and leaving before the final, scheduled less than 2 hours later. Not that it was a surprise.

The closing event on Friday’s card, the final saw the 23-year-old Coleman set his blocks in lane 4, with Baker and Isiah Young on either side. Lane 2—Gatlin’s—would remain empty. The 7 who lined up were all Nike athletes, and all of their blue-green uniforms contrasted Coleman’s black kit. That created a great visual for the Tennessee alum, who immediately streaked into a commanding lead which he held for the remainder of the race. His time, a 9.99, was not earthshaking by the lights of recent USATFs, but it was run into a 1.0 wind. The real worth of Coleman’s performance can be measured in his margin of victory in winning his first-ever USATF outdoor crown. He finished 0.13 ahead of Rodgers (10.12), with Christopher Belcher nabbing the third team spot in 10.12 and Cravon Gillespie probably securing a relay spot in 4th with his 10.19. Baker—last year’s No. 2 World Ranker behind Coleman, but running in his first meet of the year—took 5th in 10.20.

Said Coleman, “I wish they would have turned the race around so we could have a tailwind. It felt a lot more than 1.0. I don’t know. It is what it is. I got the win.”He said he wasn’t particularly affected by Gatlin’s withdrawal: “I just wanted to make the team no matter who was on the line.” Other than raising his hands in a V for victory, Coleman didn’t celebrate after crossing the line. “The mission’s not over. I want to win the gold in Doha. That’s what I focus on every day.”

In ’17, he won the silver behind Gatlin. “This time, making a world team, I know what it takes to get there, so I’ll be a little more comfortable on that big stage.” He added, “I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life, but I see there are a lot of things I can get better at or improve upon.” As for joining the pantheon of national 100 champions, he said, “It’s an honor and a blessing. I’m excited to get that first one under my belt. Hopefully there’s many more in the future.”


USATF MEN’S 100 RESULTS

FINAL (July 26; wind –1.0)

1. Christian Coleman (Nik) 9.99;

2. Mike Rodgers (Nik) 10.12;

3. Christopher Belcher (Nik) 10.12;

4. Cravon Gillespie (Nik) 10.19;

5. Ronnie Baker (Nik) 10.20;

6. Isiah Young (Nik) 10.21;

7. Ameer Webb (Nik) 10.23;

…dnc—Justin Gatlin (Nik) (has Wild Card).

LANES

1. Belcher; 2. empty; 3. Rodgers; 4. Coleman; 5. Baker; 6. Young; 7. Gillespie; 8. Webb.

REACTION TIMES

Gillespie 0.125; Rodgers 0.144; Belcher 0.160; Coleman 0.164; Young 0.165; Webb 0.170; Baker 0.187

HEATS

(July 25)

I(-0.3)–1. Rodgers 10.24; 2. Belcher 10.25; 3. Gillespie 10.29; 4. Christopher Royster (unat) 10.35; 5. Brandon Carnes (adi) 10.38; 6. Rodney Rowe (NCAT) 10.41; 7. Keitavious Walter (Al) 10.49; 8. Jeff Henderson (adi) 10.60.

II(-0.8)–1. Young 10.14; 2. Gatlin 10.16; 3. Webb 10.29; 4. Demek Kemp (unat) 10.29; 5. Cordero Gray (unat) 10.33; 6. McKinely West (unat) 10.52;… fs—Kyree King (Nik).

III(-2.0)–1. Baker 10.26; 2. Kendal Williams (adi) 10.37; 3. Kenzo Cotton (unat) 10.41; 4. Cameron Burrell (Nik) 10.43; 5. Bryce Robinson (unat) 10.45; 6. Micah Larkins (NWnLa) 10.46; 7. Cravont Charleston (NCSt) 10.51; 8. Davon DeMoss (Mem) 10.59.

IV(-1.6)–1. Coleman 10.29; 2. Remontay McClain (unat) 10.35; 3. Jaylen Bacon (adi) 10.40; 4. Riak Reese (unat) 10.52; 5. Jeff Demps (adi) 10.55; 6. Devin Quinn (unat) 10.56; 7. Mustaqeem Williams (unat) 10.58; 8. Emmanuel Wells (WaSt) 10.66.

SEMIS

(July 26)

I(-3.7)–1. Baker 10.28; 2. Rodgers 10.32; 3. Gillespie 10.36; 4. Belcher 10.39; 5. McClain 10.49; 6. Bacon 10.49; 7. Gray 10.56; 8. Royster 10.60.

II(-0.1)–1. Coleman 9.96; 2. Young 10.15; 3. Gatlin 10.16; 4. Webb 10.26; 5. Kemp 10.27; 6. Williams 10.33; 7. Carnes 10.37; 8. Cotton 10.46.

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