Because, sure enough, upstart 21-year-old Christian Coleman upstaged him in this farewell race. So the 30-year-old has the scope to compete in the relay heats this time.
The crowd's dissatisfaction was less audible when Gatlin stepped on top of the podium to collect his medal, but some fans did make their displeasure known.
But God help him if foolish pride compels him to forego retirement to redeem himself.
"I just hit it and as fast as I could for 20m".
Bolt, meanwhile, was insistent that neither Gatlin's win nor his own loss were disasters for track. "I personally don't think it [the bronze medal] has changed what I have done in any way", Bolt said. But hey, who knew?
"You guys call it losses, losses, losses", Gatlin said. But the medal payouts are a pittance compared to decent endorsement deals: In 2016, Jamaica paid roughly $10,000 for each gold medal an athlete brought home. Say, for instance, when you're growing up, you're walking down the street, you've got to tell everybody good morning.
Now Bolt finds himself at the end of his career.
Since then Bolt has confirmed he is the fastest human in history, holding both the 100 metres and 200 metres world records in the process of becoming an eight-time Olympic gold medalist, so everyone was waiting for that final golden moment for Bolt on Saturday night. Granted, this was because a member of his relay team tested positive. Usain Bolt is it!
Birds of a feather stick together.
"The young runners in our team - it is just about executing and coming through the race for them". The contrast was also striking between the walkabout that had the right Bolt, and the output nearly on the sly and under the whistles of Gatlin, which has put an end to an unbeaten 9 years of Jamaican big competition.
It was a disappointing end for Bolt and his legions of fans, as previous year he announced that London would be his retirement party. Whatever the case, I remarked on Bolt's guilt by association with his Jamaican teammates in "Drugs as Rampant in Track as in Cycling", July 16, 2013.
Coe has always been a hardliner on doping, believing second time offenders like Gatlin should have life bans - however that view has fallen foul of the legal system when athletes have gone to court to challenge such punishments. The Brit is in line for his fifth consecutive 5,000m/10,000m double across two Olympics and three World Championships, after which he will move from track-racing to road-racing. As always, Bolt delivered.
Gatlin and the U.S. team also including another convicted doping cheat, Mike Rodgers, and Jaylen Bacon were booed when introduced although the jeering was less than for the individual 100m event.