Three-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt will seek to defend his titles in the 100, 200 and 4×100 at the London Olympics. Bolt’s agent has said that the Jamaican holder of the world record in the 100 and 200 has returned to full training.
Bolt was recently shocked by fellow-countryman Yohan Blake who beat the champion sprinter in both the 100 and the 200 at the recent Jamaican Olympic trials. Bolt was treated for a hamstring strain after the 200.
Bolt was scheduled to run in the Monaco Diamond League meet on July 20; that would have been his final competitive appearance before the Olympics. The Jamaican withdrew from the race owing to what has been reported by his coach as a “slight problem”. Coach Glen Mills has said that the decision to withdraw from the Monaco event was aimed at giving Bolt sufficient time for treatment and for training and preparation for the London Games.
Bolt is reported by British newspaper Daily Telegraph as having flown to Germany last week to undergo treatment for a hamstring strain.
However the runner has vowed to compete at the London Games where the field will include Blake, his nemesis at the Jamaican trials. Blake could prove to be the toughest challenge of Bolt’s career so far. Blake and Bolt competed against each other in the Diamond League meeting at Brussels last year. Bolt triumphed in the 100 with a winning time of 9.76 but later the same evening was beaten by Blake in the 200.
Blake’s time of 19.26 in the 200 was the second fastest in history, behind Bolt’s own world record of 19.19. But given Blake’s poor reaction time of 0.276 at the start, his run was probably the fastest ever, over the distance. Bolt lost in the 100m final at the world championships last year owing to a false start and there are observers who feel it was a deliberate ploy by the world record holder to avoid being upstaged by Blake.
His proneness to poor starts in the 100 has been diagnosed by experts as being Bolt’s main problem. The sprinter clocked 9.86 and 19.83 in the 100 and 200 respectively in the Jamaican trials. At the Olympics, he will not have only Blake to contend with. Justin Gatlin (with a best of 9.80 this season), Asafa Powell (9.85) and Tyson Gay (9.86) are all waiting to ambush Bolt at London, where all eight finalists in the 100 could finish with sub-10 second runs, with about half of them going under 9.80.
A poor start could see Bolt behind the pack in the first 20m and that could prove decisive. Bolt has scaled peaks despite not having had a rival – until Blake — to egg him on, unlike Carl Lewis who had Mike Powell, or Sebastian Coe who had Steve Owett breathing over his shoulder. Blake could bring out the best in Bolt yet.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.