Road To The Olympic Games

Track and Field·U.S. Nationals

Christian Coleman takes American 100-metre title in 9.99 seconds

Christian Coleman cruised to the men's 100-metre title at the U.S. championships in a final that Justin Gatlin elected to sit out.

Reigning world champion Justin Gatlin skips final

Christian Coleman celebrates in front of Michael Rodgers, right, as he wins the men's 100 metres at the U.S. championships in Iowa on Friday. (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

Christian Coleman didn't plan the gesture. He didn't even know it was happening.

Right as he crossed the finish line, Coleman outstretched his fingers on both hands in a "V" formation — for victory.

A convincing one at that.

Coleman cruised to the 100-metre title at the U.S. championships Friday night in a final that Justin Gatlin elected to sit out.

The 23-year-old blasted out of the starting blocks and finished in 9.99 seconds. Michael Rodgers was second by thousandths of a second over Christopher Belcher. Both times flashed 10.12.

"It felt smooth. No complaints here," said Coleman, who's planning to run the 200 as well. "I knew that if I just got on top of this field, and do what I've got to do it (would) work out. I feel like I pretty much controlled it from the start."

The 37-year-old Gatlin ran in the semifinal round, but his spot in lane two was empty for the final. He already had a guaranteed 100 spot for the world championships in Doha this fall, because he's the defending champion.

Bummed not to see Gatlin?

"Not really. I just wanted to make the team," Coleman said.

Two years ago in London, Gatlin edged Coleman in the 100 final.

Round 2 is coming up in Doha in late September. Their rivalry just might be a preview of things to come at the Tokyo Olympics in a year.

In the women's 100, Teahna Daniels used a strong surge midway through the race to win in 11.20 seconds. English Gardner was second in 11.25 seconds and Morolake Akinosun third (11.28).

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