What makes me a bad boy? Gatlin hits back at media after upstaging Bolt
American sprinter Justin Gatlin hit back at the media for sensationalising his reputation as a bad boy after he spoiled Usain Bolt's party to win gold at the IAAF World Championships.
Saturday was all about Bolt in his final race but Gatlin, 35, upstaged the eight-time Olympic champion in the 100 metres final in London.
While Bolt was the focus of adulation, Gatlin was roundly jeered by the crowd, having served two doping bans across his career.
When a journalist said Gatlin seemed to enjoy being a bad boy, the sprinter replied: "What do I do that makes me a bad boy?
"Do I talk bad about anybody? Do I give bad gestures? I don't. I shake everyone's hand. I congratulate them and tell them good luck. That doesn't like a bad boy to me.
"It sounds like the media want to sensationalise it and make me a bad boy while Usain is the hero.
"You guys know I keep it classy and I never talk bad. I try to inspire other athletes and just stay in my lane, literally."
Asked about the boos, Gatlin - who clocked a time of 9.92 seconds - said: "I really don't need to understand. I wasn't booed in 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 or 15 but now I'm booed.
"I can understand the rivalry but it's not a bitter rivalry. I respect him and every time we've crossed the line I shake his hand. I've come back, did community service and inspired kids. That's why I'm back in the sport and that's why I'm still running."
Gatlin added: "I really didn't focus on the boos tonight. Throughout my rounds I zoned in on my lanes. I know it's sad my boos were louder than other people's cheers. At the end of the race I bent a knee for Usain and paid homage to him. He's done so much for the career and I'm one of his biggest competitors.
"I wasn't thinking about if my win tonight was a disaster. People that really believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. This is the first time I ran a race and I wasn't thinking about myself, I was thinking about them and that took the pressure off."