LONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 6 – Applause eventually drowned out the boos that greeted American Justin Gatlin when he received his gold medal for the 100 metres world title on Sunday at the London Stadium.
Sebastian Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), admitted earlier Sunday he was nervous at how the crowd would respond when the 35-year-old two-time dope cheat, who had taken the title denying crowd favourite and Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt a final individual gold, in Saturday’s final, stepped on top of the podium.
However, those fears were allayed when the booing, mixed with muted applause, was replaced by more enthusiastic clapping as Gatlin, who had been jeered throughout the heats and then even more so when he was announced the winner on Saturday, received his gold medal from Coe.
It had looked ominous when deafening roars rang out for Bolt as he stepped up for his bronze medal and then some boos greeted young American silver medallist Christian Coleman who looked slightly bemused.
The two Americans then stood together, waiting for Bolt, as the 30-year-old 100m and 200m world record holder lapped up the crowd chanting his name for almost the last time at a major championships, before shaking hands with each other and walking off down the tunnel.