Sports

Justin Gatlin Will Compete In 2021 Olympics, Inspired By Tom Brady

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  <a href="https://www.tmz.com/people/justin-gatlin/"><strong>Justin Gatlin</strong></a><strong> </strong>vowed to retire after the 2020 Olympics, but the 38-year-old USA track star tells <strong>TMZ Sports</strong> plans change, 'cause he ain't quittin' before takin' another crack at gold ... thanks to some inspiration from <a href="https://www.tmz.com/people/tom-brady/"><strong>Tom Brady</strong></a>.

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  We talked to the LEGENDARY sprinter -- who competed in the '04, '12, and '16 Olympics and won 5 medals including a gold in the 100M in 2004 -- and asked him straight-up, are you retiring??

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  Nope ... "The goal will be to compete in the 2021 Summer Olympics," Gatlin tells us.

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  "I think a lot of people think that time is against me or against older athletes in this situation, and it's far from the truth."

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  Fact is, almost no track athletes remain elite into their late 30s. <a href="https://www.tmz.com/people/usain-bolt/"><strong>Usain Bolt </strong></a>retired at 31 years old ... and <a href="https://www.tmz.com/2017/08/05/usain-bolt-loses-final-solo-100m-race-justin-gatlin/"><strong>lost to JG</strong></a> in is last race. So, Gatlin is a freak of nature.

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  But, does JG really believe with the <a href="https://www.tmz.com/2020/03/23/2020-tokyo-olympics-postponed/"><strong>Olympics postponed a year</strong></a> -- only months shy of his 40th bday -- that he can realistically compete for ANOTHER gold medal?

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  "My educated guess is yes, [I can win gold in 2021]."

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  Gatlin continued ... "It won't be that big of a difference from being 38 to 39. But, I always said, 'I'm not running 'til I'm 40.' I was so hard on myself with not running 'til I'm 40, and now it looks like I'm pushing close to 40, and I'm gonna still be running."

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  Speaking of athletes in their 40s ... we asked Justin if he'll retire after Tokyo, and he sure as hell doesn't sound like someone who's done -- thanks to some inspiration from a guy who is <a href="https://www.tmz.com/2020/03/17/tom-brady-tampa-bay-buccaneers-new-team-patriots/"><strong>still pretty damn great</strong></a> on the football field.

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  "Uh, [retiring after 2021 is] a possibility, I'm gonna see," Gatlin says ... "All this Tom Brady news that's going on right now, it's giving me a lot of hope to say, 'Ya know, maybe a 40-year-old Justin Gatlin on the track won't be that crazy.'"

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  Inspired yet!?

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