Although missing out on a golden finish in the individual race, Bolt, turning 31 next week, will still stand as the greatest sprinter in history.
Coe has always been a hardliner on doping, believing second time offenders like Gatlin should have life bans - however that view has fallen foul of the legal system when athletes have gone to court to challenge such punishments.
"He's done his time, he plays by the rules, the IAAF reinstated him". It was Gatlin's first 100-meter world championship title since 2005 and Bolt's first loss in a 100 final in more than four years, when he was defeated by Gatlin in June 2013 in a race in Rome, Italy.
At least that's the line runners tell each other: "I am only running against myself".
Everybody wanted him (Bolt) to end his career as a victor.
"For me it's hard to be sad because of the energy I am getting from the crowd, I just feel happy and blessed", Bolt said in a trackside interview.
The long-limbed, 6-foot-5 Bolt got off to a typically slow start bursting out of the blocks.
In semifinals earlier that same day, Bolt finished a narrow second to Coleman, but neither man seemed to be pushing it to the limit in the final meters. So the 30-year-old has the scope to compete in the relay heats this time. Gatlin also ran for Tennessee before turning pro following his sophomore season in Knoxville.
Either way, the IAAF World Championships curtain closer, scheduled for 9:50 p.m. (3:50 p.m.) will, as is often the case, be about Bolt - and then everything else. Many of his green and gold clad Jamaican countrymen had crossed the Atlantic to witness his grand finale.
What gives this loss so much pathos is that everyone knows it's the type of loss Bolt feared most. I completely lost my race plan. Normally I get better through the rounds. You guys have seen me since I was a child, running around, going to the English Schools.
With the 100m record in tow, Bolt brought momentum and buzz into the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The eight-time Olympic gold medalist finished third in a photo finish to runner-up Christian Coleman, and Gatlin on August 5 at London Stadium, site of the 2012 Olympic Games. That New York City race is also where Bolt set a new world record, his first, and the race was preceded by a lightning storm.
It's not all over.
In the past, the scene after a Bolt race was really just an after-party masquerading as ceremony, filled with Bob Marley tunes, Jamaican flags and dancing. The Jamaican 4x100m relay team have been nearly unbeatable since he arrived on the big stage, winning gold at the past seven Olympics and World Championships. And he could always change his mind about retirement.
Instead it has all been about the pantomime villain ahead of the pair, 35-year-old Justin Gatlin, a man with a drug-stained past.