Usain Bolt wasn’t the only sprinter who accomplished a historic feat during the men’s 100-meter final on Sunday. While the Jamaican sensation became the first athlete to win the 100-meter gold medal at three consecutive Olympic Games, Team USA’s Justin Gatlin became the first Olympian to win gold, silver and bronze in the men’s 100-meter event.
Similar to Charles Barkley and Karl Malone in basketball, Gatlin had the unfortunate honor of sharing eras with his sport’s most prolific superstar. But unlike the two cagers, who were outshined by Michael Jordan during their heydays, Gatlin had at least a few years of dominance before Bolt came.
Gatlin is Bolt’s main rival. He is also five years older than the 6-foot-5 sprinter. Gatlin became somewhat of a household name when he won gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Doping issues prevented him from participating at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but he later redeemed himself by winning bronze at the 2012 London Olympics.
At 34 years old, Gatlin came into the 2016 Rio Olympics as an elder statesman, complete with graying hair. Despite the teases he received from peers and track pundits alike, Gatlin is now recognized as the first man in Olympic history to win gold, silver and bronze in the 100-meter event. He is also the oldest man to make a podium finish in the said event.
“I’m so happy to be able to come out here at the age of 34 and still be able to make the podium,” said Gatlin after the race, via TeamUSA.org. “And tomorrow when I get on that podium [for the awards ceremony], I’m going to be happy because I’m going to be the oldest guy ever to get on the podium in the 100 meters and win a medal.”
In an interview with NBC Olympics, Gatlin revealed that his six-year-old son is his motivation to be better. He thought having a child at the peak of his career would lighten him up, the opposite ended up happening for him.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Gatlin’s net worth is currently pegged at $3 million. Money Nation indicated that he would have been worth over $32 million by now, had he not been subjected to doping bans for in 2001 and from 2006 to 2010. He could have earned millions had he competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.