EUGENE, Oregon — Justin Gatlin’s path to another Olympic Games has been made difficult after he was drawn in a highly competitive 100m semi-final heat at the 2021 U.S. Olympic trials at Hayward Field. The two-time Olympian is targeting his third appearance at the Olympics as he seeks to add to the five medals he’s already won at previous Games.
On Sunday Gatlin will race from the first semi-finals against world-leader Trayvon Bromell, who is currently the favorite to not only win the U.S. trials title but also the front runner for the gold medal in Tokyo.
The pair met in the heats on Saturday with Bromell coming out on top, and Gatlin, who owns a season’s best of 9.98s, will be hoping to call on his experience as guidance against some of the best talents in the world at the moment.
The 39-year-old 2004 Olympic champion from Athens will also have to deal with Isiah Young, who has been in great form so far this season, coming into these trials with a seasonal and lifetime bests of 9.89s.
With only the top three finishers from each semi-final heat guaranteed a place in the final, a number of the regular seasoned athletes could very well find themselves having to watch the final from the stands on Sunday night.
Kenny Bednarek, the 200m specialist, showed his quality in the heats on Saturday and he will want to build on that performance in the semis. He will start from lane four between Gatlin and Bromell.
The heat will also include Cravon Gillespie, who has also broken 10-seconds this season, Oregon freshman standout Micah Williams and the experienced Michael Rodgers.
Semi-final two should also be very competitive as well with the in-form Ronnie Baker set to lead the way.
World 200m champion Noah Lyles and 400m specialist Fred Kerley, who is stepping down to the shorter sprints this season, are also slated to race from this cutthroat second section. Christopher Belcher, Marvin Bracy-Williams, Kyree King, and Georgia sophomore Matthew Boling are also entered in this heat.
The men’s 100m semi-finals will take place at 9:19 pm ET.