Justin Gatlin is now the fastest man in the world.
I think I'm the second slowest (last place obviously goes to former University of Tennessee quarterback Casey Clausen).
But after what happened at the Olympics Sunday, I currently own the title of "Proudest Sports Editor" of any college newspaper.
Gatlin gave me bragging rights.
My current stomping ground is now the only school in the world that can claim the most recent Olympic gold medalist in the men's 100-meter dash (Gatlin left UT in 2002).
And my hometown of Raleigh, N.C., is the only city in the world that can claim to be his current residence.
Since I have so much in common with Gatlin, you'd think I could claim a greater athletic accomplishment than once beating my father in Ping-Pong.
Unfortunately, overtaking a practically crippled bald man in a sport designed for quick Chinese people is all I have.
Maybe it's because while Gatlin was using Knoxville and Raleigh as training grounds to become an Olympic gold medalist, I've used both of those places to become a lazy sports writer who prefers watching others do all the work.
After Gatlin posted a 9.85 time Sunday (his personal best and the fastest time in the world this year), he recalled his labor-intensive climb to establish himself as a household name.
"This is why I live," Gatlin said. "This is what I train for, that's why I shoveled the snow off North Carolina tracks."
When it snowed at my house growing up, I would be on the couch eating Twinkies and sipping on hot cocoa while Mom spent hours clearing our driveway.
That's just one of the many reasons that even my own household wishes it could forget my name. Other reasons include me not taking out the trash as a kid and the fact I'm still wasting away my parents' money as an undergraduate almost six years out of high school.
My personal drive to achieve resembles that of a hippopotamus (I'm a loser because I actually know how to spell that). But thanks to Gatlin, I am now the only person in the world who can claim the illustrious title as the current high holy sports editor for the newspaper of the university that the current fastest man in the world once attended.
Wow, Gatlin's accomplishment makes me feel like the heavyweight champion of the world.
So, Mom and Dad, take a closer look at my glorious life. Forget about my shortcomings and pompous attitude.
I have the same advice for the TV commentators who blasted Gatlin's cocky demeanor on the track.
You see, Gatlin and I are just two Vols who can now live by Muhammad Ali's famous words, "When you're as great as I am, it's hard to be humble."
- Matt Giles is the sports editor of The Daily Beacon and a senior in journalism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Golden Gatlin makes sports editor arrogant
Published: Tue Aug 24, 2004 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 06:17 p.m.