Justin Gatlin after the 2017 U.S. outdoor championships

Track and field

Time for this 9-second reminder: Justin Gatlin is real, and genuine

SACRAMENTO, California — Five years ago, on the last night of July, Bruce Springsteen played an epic show in Helsinki, more than four hours, his longest show ever.

He and the E Street Band played 33 songs, one of which, My City of Ruins, ran to 18 minutes and 26 seconds. That song, as Bruce describes it that night, was originally written about his New Jersey hometown “trying to get back on its feet” but had since become about so much more: “what you lose, what you hold onto, the spirits that remain forever and the things you have to let go.”

IAAF president Seb Coe amid this week's federation meetings // Getty Images for IAAF

Track and field

IAAF, and an open vote for reform

MONACO — Transparency. What a concept.

The reform plan put forward by International Assn. of Athletics Federation president Seb Coe, so overdue, is full of common sense. It’s just the thing to start moving track and field, in particular its long-convoluted governance structure, ahead in the 21st century. “Transparency sits at the heart of everything we’ve been talking about,” Coe would say late Saturday.

Just out for a happy little jog, Rio men's 200 semifinal // Getty Images

Track and field

Bolt the “legend,” and the joy of six

MONACO — Once again, here was a pack of journalists circled around Usain Bolt. Here came the familiar sorts of wacky questions: Was he interested in doing bobsled like the Jamaican “Cool Runnings” team that went to the 1988 Winter Games? (No.) Could he see himself playing NFL football? (No.) And more.

Bolt, the self-proclaimed “legend,” has said — many times — that he intends to retire after the 2017 International Assn. of Athletics Federations world championships in London. If so, the clutch gathered Friday around Bolt at the Fairmont Hotel, in advance of the evening’s IAAF awards gala, where he would — for the sixth time — take home the trophy as best male athlete, was both familiar and melancholy.

Gold medalist Carmelo Anthony celebrates with the crowd after the U.S. men's 96-66 victory over Serbia // Getty Images

Rio 2016

‘Iconic’ or not, Rio sighs to close

RIO de JANEIRO — Imperfect for sure, like life itself, the Rio 2016 Summer Games sighed Sunday to a close, an Olympics likely to go down in history for first-rate sport that offered a break from a welter of financial, logistical and political challenges or perhaps served merely to underscore just how difficult it is, now, to put on an Olympic Games.

For every Michael Phelps, there was the story of green water in the diving pool. For every Usain Bolt, there was the stray bullet that pierced the tent at the equestrian center. For every Simone Biles, there were the winds that ripped an overhead television camera from its cable at Olympic Park, injuring seven people, two of them children.