EUGENE, Ore.– Track & Field’s big names were front and center for today’s press conference on the eve of the Olympic Trials. The theme was redemption, particularly for Justin Gatlin, one of the biggest and most polarizing names in the sport. After serving a four-year doping ban, the embattled star returns to the Trials with renewed passion and pride for the sport.
“This is my first time being excited, almost ‘kid-like,’ in a long time,” said Gatlin. “I know what my worth is to be a U.S.A. Track and Field athlete; I know what it feels like to have a talent and not be able to use it for almost half a decade.”
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross has spent the past couple of years battling health issues, but has posted record times coming into the trials.
“My training has been going great; I’m 100 percent healthy this season, and I think it’s showing,” said Richards-Ross.
Return and redemption were the most common threads today, but so was bacon, thanks to discus thrower Stephanie Brown-Trafton.
“Has anyone been to Burger King lately? Burger King has a bacon sundae. I have yet to try it, but I know it’s on their menu,” said Brown-Trafton, “If you go to BJ’s, and you get the pazookie, they will let you put bacon it. I did that last week.”
Gatlin and Allyson Felix also professed their affinity for the breakfast food.
“I had some bacon yesterday,” Gatlin said, “You can’t give up the bacon, I’m sorry.”
“I actually had some bacon yesterday. [Brown-Trafton] made me feel really guilty when she was talking about it,” said Felix, “I was at the ‘Pancake House,’ so I definitely share in the love.”
Gatlin was asked about the growing rivalry between the United States track team and Jamaica, particularly the prospect of competing against reigning 100-meter gold medalist Usain Bolt in the 2012 Olympics.
“[Bolt] is beatable,” said Gatlin.
Trial events begin at 1 p.m. on Friday afternoon at Hayward Field.