Why Justin Gatlin believes Jamaica are in a better position than Team USA long term for sprints

Why Justin Gatlin believes Jamaica are in a better position than Team USA long term for sprints

Mark Kinyanjui 13:35 - 20.04.2024

Gatlin has opined why he thinks Jamaica could dominate track and field over the long-term after a period of drought following the retirement of the likes of Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell.

Former American sprinting legend Justin Gatlin has shared his thoughts on the potential future dominance of Jamaican track and field, suggesting that the Caribbean nation could be poised to overshadow recent periods of American sprinting supremacy.

Gatlin, an Olympic gold medalist and four-time world champion, pointed out the challenges faced by American college athletes in making it to the national team amidst the current crop of elite sprinters.

 He noted that despite the emergence of talented athletes capable of clocking times as fast as 9.9 seconds or 9.8 seconds, many are unable to break into the national team due to the presence of established stars like Trayvon Bromell, Fred Kerley, Marvin Bracy, Christian Coleman, and Noah Lyles.

Speaking about the selection process for Team USA on his Ready Set Go podcast, Gatlin explained, “Now you have athletes who have the capabilities of running 9.9s, 9.8s now and most likely won’t make the team because you have those athletes already standing in the way.”

He added, “Usually, college athletes have peaked already for NCAAs, so their coach has to repeat them within a month’s time to get ready for the Olympic trials or nationals to make the team.”

Despite acknowledging the depth of talent within American sprinting, Gatlin expressed his admiration for the emerging Jamaican sprinters who he believes could dominate the sport in the coming years. 

He highlighted the achievements of Ackeem Blake, a bronze medalist at the 60m world indoor championships, Oblique Seville, who finished fourth in the 100m finals in the last two championships, two-time Jamaican 200m champion Andrew Hudson, and Kishane Thompson.

“My take when it comes to making team Jamaica is the same thing. You have Asafa (Powell) who is retired, you have Usain (Bolt) who is retired, and the OG now is Yohan (Blake), but at the same time, you have a lot of these guys who have made their mark like Akeem, Oblique, Hudson, Ishan,” Gatlin observed.

He continued, “They have already run 9.8s and still dominating. Now, there are a lot of up-and-coming Jamaican runners who are behind them who are gonna run 9.9, 10.0 and they will be seated at home watching because they can only take three.”

In analyzing the potential of the Jamaican sprinting scene, Gatlin concluded, “When you look at that list, you have four already. Ackeem, Oblique, Hudson, Ishan. That is four. There is someone who will not make that 100m Olympic team.”