Rivals, respect: Bolt comes up big, again, in the 200, by Alan Abrahamson, 3Wiresports.com

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Alan Abrahamson of 3Wire Sports, wrote a nice column on the respect that competitors have for each other at the level of competition that we are witnessing in Beijing.

Media were treated to two fine competitors speaking about racing, competing and lots of mutual respect. Then, Alan Abrahamson asks some important questions....

Bolt_Usain200FH1-Beijing15.JPGBolt and Gatlin, in an amazing 200 meters, August 27, 2015, photo by PhotoRun.net

Rivals, respect: Bolt comes up big, again, in the 200

BEIJING -- Usain Bolt defeated Justin Gatlin in the men's 200 Thursday night at the 2015 world track and field championships, running the best time in the world this year, 19.55 seconds, to win hands-down.

If the result of this big-time showdown had been the other way around, if Gatlin had won, would earthquakes and tsunamis roil the planet? Would sinkholes swallow up large towns? Meteors flash across the sky?

Of course not.

Gatlin finished in 19.74. Just as he did in the 100 Sunday night, Gatlin lost his form -- this time, about six steps from the finish -- but managed to keep it together enough for second.

Usain Bolt wins the men's 200 // Getty Images

Usain Bolt wins the men's 200 // Getty Images

What happened Thursday, same as Sunday, amounted to great sport and, no small thing, great theater. Bolt yet again proved his worth. And Gatlin proved he is a worthy rival.

That's great for track and field.

Gatlin on Bolt: "I have nothing against Usain. He is a great competitor. A competitor as myself -- you know, you look for that. You look to be able to get pushed to your limits, to get pushed to the best times you can run.

"At the end of the day," Gatlin continued, "when you are like 45, 50 years old, and you retire, you want to look back and say, you know what? That guy right there, you helped make history with this guy, helped push him and he pushed you to be a better athlete."

"I have no problem with Justin Gatlin," Bolt said. "He is a competitor."

If Bolt doesn't have a problem with Gatlin, this simple question: why should anyone else?

Bolt also said of Gatlin, "He talks a lot. I have noticed over the years. But that's just who he is. I've noticed that in the lead-up to a championship, he's going to say a lot of stuff. But after the championships, he confuses you, you feel like he is your best friend."

Track and field too often can find itself in a marginalized niche, a once-every-two- or four-years-thing. The 200, and other events Thursday, offered precisely what the sport needs: big-time stars, and rivalries, and expressed respect.

Allyson Felix, for instance, moving up from the 200 to the 400, exploded from the start in Lane 6 and put on a sprinting clinic to win in 49.26, a 2015 world-best time. Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas took second in 49.67, Shericka Jackson of Jamaica third in 49.99.

For the complete read, please go to: http://www.3wiresports.com/2015/08/27/rivals-respect-bolt-comes-up-big-again-in-the-200/

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