Former ECU track athlete LaShawn Merritt prepares to take on Usain Bolt tonight

NBC’s primetime coverage of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad continues tonight at 8 p.m., and features defending two-time champion Usain Bolt and American LaShawn Merritt in the men's 200m gold medal final.

Merritt, who is 30, turned pro when he was 18 after his freshman indoor season at East Carolina University in Greenville in 2008.

He has already won a bronze medal in Rio, in the 400m.

It was his second Olympic medal in that race. At the 2008 summer games in Beijing, he won gold in the 400m as well as gold in the men's 4 × 400m relay.

His career has not been without bumps. Merritt served a 21-month suspension starting 2010 after failing drug tests. After that was over, he took a silver medal in the 2011 World Outdoor Championships.

An old muscle injury caused Merritt problems after that, and he did not qualify for the London Olympics in 2012.

Merritt is from Portsmouth, Virginia and now lives in Suffolk, Virginia.