Justin Gatlin names alter ego 'J Gat'
Justin Gatlin swears he's not as bad as he's made out to be.
He calls his alter ego 'J Gat'. And that's someone you don't want to mess with.
Before a race, the mild-mannered American sprinter says he transforms himself into the feisty guy named 'J Gat', a nickname he's given to a version of himself that wants to take over the world from arch-rival Usain Bolt. Their rivalry heading into the Rio de Janeiro Olympics has sometimes been portrayed as 'Good vs Evil', given Gatlin's doping history.
"I don't accept myself being the bad guy," Gatlin said.
"I'm a winner. I'm a competitor. I'm a brave person. I'm a good person. I know this about myself and I have to act like that."
'J Gat' to the rescue. He runs with fury and looks "mean and intimidating" when caught on camera after races.
That's not the real Justin Gatlin.
"Justin has only got as far as the starting line. After the gun goes off, it's never Justin. It's always as 'J Gat'," Gatlin said. "I'm a whole different person away from track."
To illustrate that, Gatlin is making a documentary. The 34-year-old will have a film crew trailing him around at the Prefontaine Classic this weekend in Eugene, Oregon, to record his every move.
One caveat: Stay out of the way of 'J Gat'. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.
"A lot of athletes get consumed by the Hollywood lights," said Gatlin.
"I'm like, 'We can make this story, but I have to still do my job. We have to coexist together. I can't give you my undivided attention and go off and start losing races.'"
There's no working title yet for the film or date when it will air. And no subject is out of bounds, including his doping past. The 2004 Olympic 100m gold medallist tested positive for excessive testosterone in 2006, was reinstated from his ban on July 24, 2010, and returned to capture bronze at the London Games two years later.
"The theme of (the movie) is basically my journey," Gatlin said.