The phrase "time and tide wait for no man" is a truism Justin Gatlin challenges with every stride.
The Rio Summer Olympics marks the third games for the 34-year-old American sprinter. A four-time medalist — one gold, one silver and two bronze — Gatlin is among the most historically significant sprinters in USA Track & Field history.
"With track and field, you have to be a consistent athlete and consistent winner," Gatlin told Agence France Presse, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Gatlin recognizes he is "one of the oldest sprinters around."
"To be able to go out there and run as fast as I'm running … it's a relief. As I become an older athlete I know my habits, good and bad," he told the CBC.
The former University of Tennessee standout is essentially the "been there, done that" veteran of a track team that aspires to medal in Rio.
So he views part of his role on Team USA as that of mentor to the future of the program — specifically, Baylor University star Trayvon Bromell.
"He’s so green. He's so talented and yet so green at the same time," Gatlin told NBC Olympics of Bromell in June.
Entering his first Olympics, Bromell boasts a bronze medal in the 100 meters and a gold in the 60 meters from the 2015 and 2016 world championships, respectively. He also has NCAA Championships in the 100-meter dash and 200 meters.
Bromell, 21, is just beginning to author his legacy. Who better to guide him than Gatlin, the man he grew up watching and befriended during the 2015 World Championships?
"Just seeing what [Gatlin] has done over the years and the type of person he is," Bromell told the Pensacola News Journal in July. "A lot of people don’t know how good of a mentor this guy is."
The two are scheduled to run against each other in the 100 meter and will be teammates on the 4x100-meter relay, along with Mike Rodgers and Marvin Bracy. Gatlin will also run the 200 meters.
While Gatlin and Bromell have a pre-existing relationship, Gatlin is concerned about developing an esprit de corps with Rodgers and Bracy before the relays begin.
There is, after all, a medal to win.
"The [talent] pool is so deep that you want to be fair and give everybody a chance, but at the same time, you want build a synergy and a bond with four athletes in a short amount of time. It’s a problem within a problem sometimes," Gatlin told NBC Olympics in July.