Usain Bolt could be tempted to reverse his decision to retire from athletics after next month's World Championships, his American sprint rival Justin Gatlin said on Friday.
The great Jamaican, who has won eight Olympic and 11 world championship gold medals, is planning to quit the track after competing in the 100m and 4x100m relay in the global event in London.
However, Gatlin, who was beaten by Bolt in the last two world championship 100m and 200m finals and at last year’s Olympics in Rio, believes the 30-year-old could one day find a return impossible to resist.
“Why not? He has that rock star mentality where he can travel the world, have fun, party in different places and then say: ‘I want to take this seriously one more time’,” said at the US team’s training camp in Birmingham.
“He has the opportunity to come back, once he leaves he can have a year of rest and say: ‘I love track so much I can’t leave it too soon’.”
The 35-year-old Gatlin, twice banned for doping violations, has only beaten Bolt once in a world championship final, in 2005 in Helsinki when the Jamaican was still a teenager.
But with the main man of athletics due to depart the sprint scene, Gatlin predicted an exciting new era.
“It makes you a little more jittery. Who’s going to step up to fill that void, who’s going to rise to the occasion and want to be the next superstar?” he said.
“Now you’re not worried about the Usain Bolt Show. Now you’re more concerned about the head-on competition, people rising to the occasion and saying: ‘I will do it for me and my family now I have the opportunity to run from the front’.”
Mo Farah has decided he will end his track career at the Diamond League final in Zurich next month, organisers of the Swiss event have announced.
The 34-year-old had planned to quit the track after August’s Diamond League meeting in Birmingham which follow the World Championships in London.
But he will instead race in Zurich on August 24th, four days after the Birmingham meeting, before quitting to focus on the marathon.
Farah is due to race in the 5000m and 10,000m at the World Championships next month.
The World Championships are expected to have the highest attendance figures in the event’s history after organisers announced on Friday that more than 650,000 tickets have been sold.
The championships, which began in 1983, have completely sold out for the opening night at the London Stadium when Farah will bid for his third successive gold in the 10,000 metres.
More than 250,000 spectators are expected over the first weekend with the highlight set to be Bolt’s final major 100 metres race.
“For those that missed out on the London 2012 Olympic or Paralympic Games this is really it, the best chance to see the stadium in that form once more and I cannot stress enough how amazing the action is going to be,” said championship director Niels de Vos.
Tickets remain in high demand for the session on Sunday, August 6th when Britain’s Jessica Ennis-Hill is to receive her 2011 world championship gold medal in heptathlon.