Organisers may think the most closely guarded secret of the 2012 Games is who will light the Olympic flame, but of far greater interest to the wider sporting public is the condition of Usain Bolt’s right hamstring.
The Jamaican triple gold medallist from Beijing is the number one attraction of the London Games, but the question mark over his fitness has added an extra layer of intrigue to what is already an eye-wateringly exciting 100 metres race. Bolt needed stretching and massage treatment for a tight hamstring following his 200m defeat by Yohan Blake in the Jamaican trials at the start of the month, having also lost to Blake in the 100m days earlier when he looked to be nursing the injury with a tentative start.
Bolt, like the rest of the all-conquering Jamaica athletics squad, is training behind closed doors in Birmingham before moving south for the start of the track and field programme on August 3. He has been given a specially made seven foot bed in his Birmingham quarters and will also be defending his 200m title and will hope to help Jamaica defend the 4x100m gold they also won in world record time four years ago.
Teammate and former world record holder Asafa Powell withdrew from the London Diamond League meeting with a groin injury while Tyson Gay, the second-fastest man in the world, needed treatment for a minor groin strain after winning that race in cold and wet conditions. Should Bolt, Gay, Powell and Blake all start the heats on August 4 it will be the first time since the introduction of electronic timing in 1968 that the four current fastest men in the world will all be racing each other for Olympic Gold.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2012.