World's Fastest Man Has His Heart in Blountstown in Calhoun County

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After winning the 100 meter race in Athens, Justin Gatlin showed now hesitation in letting the world know his heart was in Blountstown with his grandparents.

Gatlin told a worldwide TV audience, "Thanks Grandma and Grandpa in Blountstown, Florida. Thanks for giving me such great parents."

Grandpa Gatlin says young Justin would always share his Olympic dreams with the family.

"I said son, all you have to do is keep your head up and your mind on the Lord and he'll get you there."

Born in New York, Justin Gatlin's family moved to Pensacola when he was nine years old. This would allow him frequent visits with his grandparents in Blountstown. They would be a major influence on his life.

His grandparents say he always showed a strong will to succeed, even as a youngster. He was always very competitive.

The Gatlin family says his real race is the 200 meter sprint and they can't wait. Grandpa Gatlin predicted, "You might see a world's record come crashing down in the 200."

That race, by the way, can be seen Thursday night on NBC's continuing coverage of the 2004 Summer Olympics. You can watch it on NewsChannel Seven, WJHG.