Olympic Sprinter Justin Gatlin’s Son Tells Him, ‘You Better Win, Daddy!’

Justin Gatlin
Justin Gatlin USOC/NBC Olympics

Justin Gatlin is set to run the 100-meter and 200-meter races at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this summer, competing against his Jamaican rival Usain Bolt. And no one wants Gatlin to win more than his son Jace, 6.

“He says, ‘You better win, Daddy!’” the three-time Olympian told Us Weekly. “Before my races, I’ll talk to my mom, my dad and my son. He’ll say, ‘All right, Daddy, you’ve got to win today.’”

It’s a lot of pressure on the four-time Olympic medalist.

Me and the mini doing what we do best Chilling and cartoons!!!!

A post shared by justingatlin (@justingatlin) on

“I mean, if anything, it makes me nervous. Your son telling you, ‘You better win.’ If anyone else in the crowd is like, ‘You better win,’ I’m like, ‘I’m going to try.’ That’s why I’m here; I’m trying. But if my son says that, I’m trying to move mountains," Gatlin told Us. "I’m trying to move mountains for him, so I’ve got to go out there with the intent to really try to do it.”

With Bolt coming off of a hamstring injury, this could be the time for Gatlin to get another 100-meter gold medal in his favorite event.

“I like the 100m. It makes me feel like a human drag-racing car," he explained. "It feels good when the spotlight is on you, even if it’s for nine seconds. It’s amazing — the world stops for nine seconds to see what you’re going to do.”

His son is also finding that love of speed and innate ability to move quickly.

“He’s fast!” the proud dad bragged of his soccer-playing son. “He’s already scoring three to five goals a game. He uses that speed to his advantage, for sure.”

Justin Gatlin
Justin Gatlin USOC/NBC Olympics

Gatlin’s son and “best friend” has also taken to the track in youth meets, nabbing a medal of his own that he promptly traded with his dad.

“He did it in exchange for a bag of candy!” Gatlin said, laughing. 

The Rio Olympics begin August 5 and will be streamed live on NBCOlympics.com and on the NBC Sports app. The Rio Paralympics begin September 7 and will be streamed live on TeamUSA.org.

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