Gatlin: 'Podium finish at 34 feels good'

"At the age of 34, to race these young guys and still make the podium feels so good," Gatlin said, "We work 365 days a year to be here for nine seconds."

Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin

Justin Gatlin led the first 60 metres before Usain Bolt (left) raced ahead to finish first.

Justin Gatlin now has a full set of Olympic medals in the 100 metres and the American was pleased to finish second at Rio 2016.

Even though he would have preferred they all be gold, he had no regrets as he finished behind the unstoppable Usain Bolt on Sunday.

"At the age of 34, to race these young guys and still make the podium feels so good," Gatlin said, "We work 365 days a year to be here for nine seconds."

It is difficult to imagine Gatlin, whose Olympic career began with gold in the 100m in Athens, being back in the same position four years hence - though with Bolt (who turns 30 next Sunday) apparently set to step away, the thought might tempt him.

Gatlin was absent from the 2008 Beijing Games that made Bolt a superstar, serving a four-year doping ban that originally had been set to last twice that long.

He took bronze in London behind Bolt and fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake, and was back up to silver behind Bolt at the 2015 world championships.

That set the stage for one last run at the legend in Rio, and Gatlin made it count.

He led through about the 60-metre mark before Bolt's legendary kick produced a third consecutive gold medal.

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