The Olympics, held every four years, and the World Championships, held every other year, are the premier attractions in track and field and are viewed almost equally on the global stage.
While Usain Bolt was cheered as he received his bronze medal but Gatlin got the opposite reaction.
After a short while, though, he rose gingerly to his feet and limped across the line to huge cheers from the 56,000 crowd.
The USA pushed hard but as Bolt tried his hardest to make up the ground he pulled up, clutching his hamstring.
Great Britain's women will expect to qualify for the 4x100m relay final, with favourites the US and Jamaica also hoping to avoid any mistakes in the qualifying heats. The race starts at 20:20 on Saturday.
Gabby Logan presents live coverage from the penultimate day of the World Championships in London.
Bolt told the BBC post-race that, "I enjoy relays more than anything". Putting on the now famous Jamaican yellow vest, Bolt has brought so much ecstasy to diverse peoples across the globe.More news: UP government orders inquiry, suspends medical college principal
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The result means Bolt, 100 and 200m world record holder, finishes his career with 14 world medals to go with eight Olympic golds. "I don't think it gets any worse than that", he said, referring to the problems in Russian Federation. The several boos and jeers that reverberated through the length and breadth of the London Olympics Stadium on the night that Gatlin "stole" Bolt's crown were indicative of the fans' detestation for cheating and cheats, and by inference their fear for the future of athletics. He was asked if he wished he could run what is widely considered his best race - the 200, one of three events (100 and 4x100 are the others) where he holds the world record. The coup de grace happened through the fault of Gatlin, that person wanted to secretly see him back at the top.
Bolt said his emotions were still in check at the thought of bowing out of track and field.
"One of the things that separates the all-time greats of this sport from the rest is their ability to deliver when it matters most", said Gabby and you just knew that was Bolt's chances gone.
The Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Oslo did a scientific analysis of that run and estimated that Bolt could have finished with a time of 9.55 seconds if he hadn't slowed down to celebrate.
"You guys call it losses, losses, losses", Gatlin said.
Last Sunday morning at my church I met with a few friends and we spoke about that race.
"It nearly looks like I am winning!" He called the evening and the crowd "beautiful" - even if that medal he earned might not seem as pretty as the rest. "I think I lost the race to a great competitor". I came out here and did my best.