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Justin Gatlin Beats Usain Bolt in 100 Meter Race at Golden Gala Meet

Jamaica's champion Usain Bolt reacts after losing the 100m men's race at the IAAF Golden Gala at Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy. (Photo Credit: Paolo Bruno)

By Andrew Dampf

ROME — After five dominating years, Usain Bolt is showing signs of slowing down.

The Jamaican lost by a hundredth of a second to American Justin Gatlin in the 100 meters at the Golden Gala meet. Gatlin finished in 9.94 seconds.

It was Bolt’s first significant loss since his false-start disqualification at the 2011 world championships in South Korea. But he also struggled in his first 100 this year, winning a photo finish in 10.09 in the Cayman Islands a month ago while dealing with a hamstring injury.

This is normally the time Bolt starts to leave his rivals behind as he revs up for the year’s biggest event. This season, it’s the world championships in Moscow in August.

However, the always cool Jamaican isn’t worried.

“For me it is just going through the season,” said Bolt, the world-record holder and six-time Olympic champion. “Put things together for the world championships. The season is still very early.”

He did not blame the hamstring this time.

“During the race I didn’t feel it all,” he said. “Afterwards it was sore but that’s expected. But during the race it was fine.”

Gatlin, who has won all five of his 100-meter races this year and had been doing some pre-race trash talking, was restrained in his celebration, just clapping his hands rapidly.

“This year I just want to be able to put together a better race, give him some competition when he’s at his top form, to make it a more epic race,” Gatlin said. “He’s a legend. He’s done great things and I just want to go out there and just fight to the end.”

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