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Justin Gatlin Fails to Qualify for 200m final; Stevens Finishes 7th

Justin Gatlin finished third in his 200m semifinal heat, missing the event final. In the women’s final, Deajah Stevens finished seventh and well off the podium.

New York native Gatlin was considered a shoe-in for the final, with many jumping the semifinal race altogether and simply discussing the expected final between him, Usain Bolt and Lashawn Merritt. However, after looking over into the other lanes near the finish of his heat, Gatlin lost too much time, finishing just .03 seconds behind second place and a bid in the final.

Gatlin got off to his trademark strong start, and while he wasn’t dominating the heat as he was expected to. Either way, coming up into the last 50m, Gatlin was still far ahead, but as Panama’s Alonso Edward and Churandy Martina of the Netherlands made their final push, Gatlin glanced over at them to see how far he was ahead, only to watch them bolt by. Had he not relaxed so early in the race, it would be very likely that he would be racing in the final.

At age 34, it’s unlikely that Gatlin will be able to qualify for another Olympics, and it seems that one of the final chapters in the Bolt-Gatlin rivalry will never be written, with Bolt obviously getting the best yet again. They will more than likely square off one final time in the 4X100m relay in a few days, but that’s assuming the American team can shake off their relay woes and finally make it back to a final cleanly.

Immediately after Gatlin’s letdown, Bayside’s Deajah Stevens finished in seventh place in the women’s 200m final.  The Olympics are her first ever major international meet, and at age 21, she’s only expected to get better. On top of that, the odds were even further stacked against her considering she had to run up against favorites Elaine Thompson of Jamaica, Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands, and teammate Tori Bowie, who won gold, silver and bronze respectively.

The Tokyo games in 2020 are definitely going to be on her mind, as she is expected to have one of the brightest futures in American sprinting along with 100m specialist English Gardner of Voorhees Township. After Stevens upset sprinting icon Allyson Felix in the U.S. Olympic Trials in her signature 200m, the expectations surely have mounted. Making the Olympic final this year in Rio was a huge step in the right direction in fulfilling those expectations.

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Dan is a Staff Writer here at with a focus on Team USA and the Rio Olympics
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