Justin Gatlin’s Track Meet Prep
As a collegiate star at the University of Tennessee, Gatlin won six NCAA titles by the end of his sophomore season. He ignited Tennessee’s 2001 NCAA team title run by winning the 100 and 200 meters. Gatlin became the first freshman to get double victory in the 100 and 200 at the NCAA Outdoors since 1976. Gatlin was named the SEC Track Freshman of the Year for both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Coming out of high school, Gatlin received full scholarship offers in track and field, as well as graphic design. He nearly went to art school, before changing his mind and pursuing his track career.
STACK asked Gatlin how he prepares for a big meet. Check out his answers to learn how you can prep yourself like a Gold Medal Olympian.
STACK: What’s your typical daily routine during the day of a meet?
GATLIN: Listen to a lot of music—try to get myself in a zone and focused for the race. Everything is done on the same schedule the day of the meet from when I wake up to when I eat breakfast.
STACK: Is there any specific song, or type of music you listen to before an event?
GATLIN: I listen to a mix of things—Jay Z, DMX, Alice in Chains, Lil Jon & the East Side Boys.
STACK: Is there any specific food or meal you eat before a meet/event?
GATLIN: I drink a protein shake in the morning and then I have a snack close to the race like a PowerBar. I usually don’t eat much until after the race is over. Then I eat whatever I want.
STACK: Do you use any sort of mental visualization technique?
GATLIN: I try to stay really focused, and think about my own race and staying in my lane.
STACK: Do you have any other routines you try to perform to help you mentally prepare for a meet?
GATLIN: I just go off instinct. I do what my body tells me.
Name: Justin Gatlin
Events: Sprints, hurdles
Weight: 168 pounds
PR’s: 100m 9.85 ((2004),
200m 19.98 ((2002),
110mH 13.78 ((2001)
Born: Feb. 10, 1982, in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Current Residence: Raleigh, N.C.
High School: Woodham HS (Fla.) ’00
College: University of Tennessee
Coach: Trevor Graham
Agent: Renaldo Nehemiah
2004 Olympic 100m gold medalist
2004 Olympic 200m bronze medalist
2004 4x100m relay silver medalist
2004 Jesse Owens Award winner
2003 World Indoor 60m champion
2003 USA Indoor 60m champion
2002 NCAA Indoor 60m champion
2002 NCAA Indoor 200m champion
2002 NCAA Outdoor 100m champion
2002 NCAA Outdoor 200m champion
2001 NCAA Outdoor 100m champion
2001 NCAA Outdoor 200m champion
Gatlin is one of the best young U.S. sprinters to come along in years. Delivering on his tremendous potential, at the young age of 22, Gatlin won the gold medal in the men’s 100 meters at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Also in the ’04 Games, Gatlin became the first American to medal in both the 100 and 200 since Michael Bates in 1992, earning a bronze in the 200 meters with a time of 20.03. As a member of the 4 x 100m relay team, Gatlin took home a silver medal from Athens, as well.
*Biography courtesy of USA Track and Field.