The retired Jamaican sprinter was speaking to Chuckie on the latest drop of JD’s In the Duffle Bag Podcast when Bolt, now 35, revealed just how tense it became between the two competitors.
Bolt, who is an eight-time Olympic gold medallist said: “There definitely was a rivalry – I live off it – that’s something that drives me.
“If you watch my movie I Am Bolt, at the Olympics throughout the season I had problems motivating myself because overdone it already I was like ‘what do I need to prove’ and it was hard.
“I twisted my ankle earlier in the season and it was hard getting back so my motivation was little.
“I remember someone sent me a video of Justin Gatlin on this morning show and this guy was talking like ‘are you going to beat Usain Bolt this year’?
“(Gatlin replied) ‘I’m going to beat him and I’m going to wear my gold medal around my neck like a gold chain’.
“That alone was changed, I was like let’s go – I’m that competitive.
“For me, I love rivalry, I love competition so Justin for me was one of the best ones.
“He’s very good at competing, he wants it, he was always determined and I have to respect him for that.
“It’s the weirdest thing me and him all season he would talk sh*t, he would see me and stare me down, but as soon as the championship ends he’s a different person.
“We’re cool after a couple of years, I kind of figured out that’s how he deals with his competition, he doesn’t want to be my friend till the competition is done.
“That’s the way he looks at you, he stares you down old-school runner type of vibe, he stares you down trying to intimidate me but I always find it so funny.”
Speaking about the world record titles that he currently holds for the 100m, the Jamacian said if someone wants to beat his record they have to be “on another level”.
Bolt said: “World Records go, they tell you all the time records are made to be broken that’s just facts you know what I mean.
“I’m going to run fast but probably in 15 years someone’s going to run faster’ you never know how long it’s going to last.
“Sometimes it might last for a long time, sometimes it might be short, but once I’ve won three Olympics back-to-back that’s something that if someone wants to beat that they have to be well-focused.
“If you want to beat that you have to be on another level of work because I set the bar high before me no one has even doubled.
“I think Carl Lewis came, he only won 100 meters twice, he didn’t get the 200 meters and I did that and people are like ‘oh my god this is crazy’ and I’m like ‘nah, if I win the next one it’s crazy’.
“That’s how I’m looking at things, I’m getting gold medals because that’s going to stand when people name world record they’re going to be like ‘this guy, that guy there’s a list’ but if you look in the history books and go how many people have won the Olympics back-to-back three times: just me.
“That’s how I look at it, yes I’m on the list of the fastest man in the world, cool, that’s a nice list to be on because I’ve done it, but I have a list which I’m the only person on it.”
Bolt, now 35, doesn’t see his world record of 9.58 seconds in the 100m being broken any time soon, he added:“Even with these spikes now I don’t see that person yet I really don’t like I’ve seen athletes and their running times but I haven’t seen that person that I go like ah right that guy in a couple of years is going to do it.
“It takes a good coach so for a lot of these guys if you don’t have a good coach that can see things and change small things then it’s not going to work.
“With me, I had to change so many little things in my technique to actually run fast that’s it’s crazy when my coach tells me stuff.
“He goes ‘no, we need to change that’ and then they change that and I run faster like alright boss.
“Over the years I stopped questioning him, if he says do it alright cool, we need to change this alright cool, we need to change alright cool, I don’t even argue with him anymore.”
Link – JD’s blog – https://blog.jdsports.co.uk/in-the-duffle-bag-s4-ep2-with-usain-bolt