After watching Justin Gatlin run several races over the past few years, I really believed he could run under 9.90 for the 100 and under 19.70 for the 200. I hope it's still true. Any word on his injury in Mexico City? I'd love to see him healthy in Paris in August.
19.6 is not the equivalent of 9.8. There have only ever been three 19.6 times run in the history of the event (one wind-assisted, the others curiously on the same track). We need to remember that the "standard" for world class 200m times is 19.7ish. The performances of Pietro Mennea and Michael Johnson have served to skew the perceived limits of the event for over 20 years!
That being said, I think Gatlin stands the best chance in the current field of putting down consistent 19.8s and 19.7s. Is he 9.8 material? Hard to say. Sub-10? Probably.
The standard for world-class 200m times is 19.7?! You've gotta be kidding. Running 19.7 puts you in the top 7 all-time in the 200. Gatlin is certainly capable of it but those are pretty high standards you've got there.
I didn't imply the standard was "19.7". Perhaps a typo on my part. By saying that Gatlin can rank in that region I meant to say that he is capable of joining the all-time ranks. The "average" world class time for 200m is clearly slower!
After having seen him effortlessly move away from a decent world-class field in the World Indoor 60, and having seen him float through a 19.86w two years ago, there's no doubt in my mind that he's a 9.8/19.6 guy.
(And like Henry Carr/Tommie Smith, you don't even want to think about what he can do in the 400.)
Consider also his dramatic improvement in what would have to be considered his worst sprint event, the 60m. I'm no expert, but it seems like his height and somewhat slower turnover would hinder him in the 60. But all of a sudden he's the world champ.
I agree that the 200 is Gatlin's best event. I also think he's capable of 19.6 range. Too bad about this injury, but he'll get over it. He's a classic, textbook sprinter and is being expertly coached.
That's a good point you make, BG. I guess like any sport, you have to have the talent first. But I'm sure coaching does make some difference. Although, as far as track goes (especially sprinting), I'm not sure how much.