Justin Gatlin Is at Home at Tokyo’s Test Event

He positive did look at dwelling when he lined up in Lane 7 on Sunday. The athletes regarded down the road, shook their legs and bounced their toes again into beginning blocks. All indicators pointed to a mean elite observe meet, till the cameras shifted simply sufficient so viewers may see volunteers carrying face masks and tens of 1000’s of empty seats within the background.

Then they had been off. Gatlin, unsurprisingly, was first across the line in 10.24. (His private finest is 9.74, which he ran in 2015.)

“It wasn’t the fastest time I’ve ever had, but under those conditions, with the bubble and quarantine, it felt good to get the win,” he mentioned, after which added after a pause, “I can say I got the first win in the Olympic Stadium.”

The pleasure in his voice was clear, the starvation to get again to that observe for the true factor, and his confidence that the Games might be held efficiently.

“I can’t think of anywhere else the Olympics could be successful,” he mentioned, describing his various experiences racing across the globe. “Japan already has that instilled in their culture, to be cautious and systematic.”

That mentioned, many individuals in Japan are fearful that the Games may flip right into a coronavirus superspreader event, with 1000’s of individuals arriving in Tokyo from tons of of nations which might be all at completely different phases of the pandemic. And final week, Japan extended a state of emergency in Tokyo and different areas till the tip of May to include a surge of coronavirus instances.

Gatlin acknowledged that worry, and those that are in opposition to holding the Games. “I can’t put my Olympic dream in front of someone’s life,” he mentioned. “But let’s take every precaution and safeguards before we decide to cancel or once again move the date of the Olympics. I think that if we are making gains around the world, being safe and if everyone is on their p’s and q’s wearing their masks, social distancing and disinfecting, we have a great chance of having a successful Olympics.”

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