Posted: Sunday August 22, 2004 8:35PM; Updated: Monday August 23, 2004 4:43AM
I wrote down my picks before the race started and I had them in this order: Asafa Powell, Shawn Crawford, and Maurice Greene. I picked Justin Gatlin for fourth. He struggled with his starts and I didn't think he was tough enough to win in a field like this with this kind of pressure. But of all the guys in the race, he ran the perfect race.
Key to the race
In a race like this where everybody is nervous and they're nerves are really frayed, and they've already been through three rounds, the guy who gets the great start is the one who can relax because he's out front. He's not trying to catch up. And Gatlin, who did not have great starts in previous heats, worked with his coach on starts between the semifinal and final and he nailed it. As a result, he was out clean and could not see anybody in front of him or next to him and he just relaxed. Everybody else got tight trying to catch him except for Francis Obikwelu and Greene who were gaining at the end.
Gatlin is 22 years old. He should have been a senior in college this year. He's very young and he's not going anywhere if he stays healthy and keeps doing what he does. Powell will be around, too. He's only 21 and these guys will be butting heads for some time. Greene said after the race that he's not going anywhere but wherever he is going, he's going sooner than these other guys. I think Greene will win more races but tonight you saw the first steps in the changing of the guard.