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Gatlin earns USATF AOW with a Diamond League title and a perfect season

9/10/2014
 
INDIANAPOLIS -- Capping a perfect season of 19 consecutive victories, Justin Gatlin earns USATF Athlete of the Week after claiming a pair of first-place finishes Sept. 5 at the Diamond League meeting in Brussels and winning his final race of the outdoor season on Sept. 7 in Reiti, Italy.
 
Gatlin (Woodham, Florida) won the Diamond League crown in the men’s 100m, clocking 9.77 just one hour prior to finishing the 200m in 19.71. In doing so, he became the third man in track & field history to post both a sub-10 and a sub-20 finish on the same day. Olympic legend Ato Boldon accomplished the feat six times, and former World Record holder and two-time World Champion Calvin Smith accomplished it once.
 
“When we were doing the introductions for the 200, I was getting my legs as relaxed as possible and not worrying about them being tight,” he said. “Once I got out into the blocks, I started to get a slight cramp, but I technically got myself around the curve and did what I had to do to get across the line.”
 
Two days later in his 19th race of the year, he won the 100m at the IAAF World Challenge meet in Rieti, Italy, with a time of 9.83. Gatlin is the first male sprinter to achieve a perfect season since Usain Bolt in 2009, and Gatlin has now won back-to-back Diamond League titles in the 100m.
 
“One thing I learned about me, personally, is that you don’t plan for special things to happen; they just happen.
 
“There was never a point where I thought this was not going to be a special season, but my coach sat me down and told me to make this a foundation season. He told me to just go out there and have fun with it.”
 
Other top performances this week included:
 
  • Evan Jager (Algonquin, Illinois) broke his own American record in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase at the final Diamond League meet in Brussels, Friday, Sept. 5. Jager ran 8:04.71, beating his previous AR by 2.1 seconds as he finished in third place.
  • Allyson Felix (Los Angeles, California) ran 22.02 in the women’s 200m to set the fastest time in the world this year en route to the Diamond League crown.
  • Jenny Simpson (Boulder, Colorado) set a personal best and the second fastest U.S. time in the women’s 3,000m when she finished in 8:29.93 at the Diamond League meet in Brussels. Simpson now owns the No. 2 U.S. times in both women’s 1,500 and 3,000m.
  • Nikolas Toocheck (West Chester, Pennsylvania), an 11-year-old, became the youngest person to complete a marathon on all seven continents. He completed marathon No.7 on Sept. 7.
 
2014 Winners: January 15, Chris Derrick; January 22, Galen Rupp; January 29, Galen Rupp; February 5, Alexa Efraimson; February 12, Mike Rutt; Feb. 19, Bernard Lagat; Feb. 26,Sharon Day-Monroe; March 3, David Torrence; March 13, Francena McCorory; March 19, Irene Obera; March 26, Duane Solomon; April 2, Maria Michta; April 7, Noah Lyles; April 14, Kendell Williams; April 21, Meb Keflezighi; April 28, Kristi Castlin; May 7, Maria Michta; May 14, Erik Kynard; May 21, Emma Coburn; May 28, Brenda Martinez; June 2, Galen Rupp; June 9, Tori Bowie; June 16, Trayvon Bromell; June 23, Charles Austin; June 30, Devon Allen, July 7, Kaylin Whitney; July 14, Emma Coburn; July 21, Florence Meiler; July 28, Kaylin Whitney; August 4, Ed Burke; August 11, Cierra White; Aug. 21, Gwen Berry; Aug. 27, Myles Marshall; Sept. 3, Gia Lewis Smallwood; Sept. 10, Justin Gatlin.
 
About USATF
USA Track & Field is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country’s No. 1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information on USATF, visit http://www.usatf.org/.
 


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