EUGENE – American sprinter Justin Gatlin is confident arch rival Usain Bolt will be fit for the Olympic Games, despite the world record holder’s uncertain status due to an injury.
Bolt withdrew from the Jamaica Olympic Team Trials after the semi-finals of the men’s 100m on Friday night with a hamstring tear, and has submitted a medical exemption to the JAAA.
The six-time Olympic champion has already begun treatment on his left hamstring and revealed that he will be seeking assistance in the coming weeks to help speedup his recovery.
Gatlin, who finished second to Bolt in both the 100m and 200m at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, last year, admitted he was shocked by news of Bolt’s injury, but believes his Jamaican rival will be fit for Rio.
“I got a text last night. I thought ‘Is it April Fools?’ Let me check the calendar,” Gatlin told reporters at the U.S. Olympic Team trials in Eugene on Saturday.
“But crazy things happen in Olympic years, so we’ll see what happens,” added Gatlin.
He continued: “I think it’s just the mystery in the air of the Olympics. It’s full of dreams and sometimes dreams don’t come true. But come on, man — he’s Usain.
“We’re going to see his face in Rio one way or another,” Gatlin said.
Usain Bolt holds the world record in the 100m, at 9.58 seconds and 19.19 seconds for the 200m.
He is scheduled to run again in London on July 22.