Justin Gatlin became the fifth-fastest man over 200 metres in history on Sunday, as he recorded a personal best of 19.57 seconds in his win at the US Track and Field Championships.
Gatlin’s time set in Eugene, Oregon is the equal-11th-quickest, but makes him the third-fastest American in the event – behind only Michael Johnson and Walter Dix – while world record holder Usain Bolt and fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake are the only other men to go quicker.
The time smashed the meet record at the outdoor nationals of 19.62secs, set by Tyson Gay in 2007.
Gatlin has served two bans for doping during a career in which he has won Olympic and World Championships gold – and his superb form in 2015 has been greeted with dismay in certain quarters.
Isiah Young, who also broke 20 seconds in the semi-finals, finished second in 19.93, improving 0.06secs, while Wallace Spearmon (20.10) completed the podium.
Alysia Montano won the women’s 800 metres – a feat made remarkable by the fact she was pregnant less than a year ago.
Montano actually went from last to first in the space of that year, as she ran while heavily pregnant in 2014 – registering a time of two minutes, 32.13 seconds in the heats.
But in ’15, instead of carrying her in the race, Montano was holding the 10-month-old Linnea in the post-race celebrations – after recording a winning time of 1:59.15.