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'Hungry' Gatlin focused and ready

2016-08-06 16:00
Justin Gatlin (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Justin Gatlin will have the world 's eyes on him and his rivalry with Usain Bolt, but he is just wanting to have a good time at this year's Olympic Games.

Gatlin, who is infamous for having been banned twice for doping, is considered to be Usain Bolt's main obstacle in achieving a historic 'triple triple' of gold medals for sprinting.

On Thursday, Bolt said to reporters that Gatlin would 'feel his full wrath' when the two athletes meet on the track at Rio's Olympic Stadium, but Gatlin is maintaining his focus. 

"I'm just coming here and just do what I need to do, which is run, enjoy myself and make my way through the finals and get on top of that podium," said the 34-year-old to CNN on Friday ahead of his third Games, where he will competing in the 100 and 200-meter sprint, as well as the 4×100-meter relay.

With Gatlin being a veteran, and Bolt having suggested that he might retire next year after the World Championships in London, there is the possibility that this could be the last time that fans will get to watch the two go head-to-head in a major competition.

Gatlin is insistent that it's not on his mind, he has instead chosen to focus on his preparation for the upcoming 100-meter heats, which will kick of on August 13.

"You know, I really haven't thought about it," he said. "It's an Olympics, it's going to be special, so I know everyone's going to bring their 'A' game. So I've got to make sure I'm ready." 

Although Gatlin already has an Olympic gold medal for the 100-meter sprint from Athens in 2004, along with two world titles, his desire to win has not deteriorated with age.

When asked on the eve of the games how he was feeling, he said: 'Hungry.'

"This is my third Olympics, so I'm bringing the fun, carefree Justin Gatlin from 2004 and the 'honored to be here' Justin Gatlin from 2012," he adds.

"When I go out there I'm just going to celebrate and have a great time."

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