Usain Bolt raced to a repeat in the Olympic 100m and told compatriot and training partner Yohan ‘The Beast’ Blake to forget about an upset in the 200m.
The 25-year-old Bolt – world record holder in both the 100m and 200m – wants to retain the 200 title he won in Beijing, believing a second Olympic sprint double will seal his status as a Games legend. Bolt’s confidence was shaken by defeats at the hands of 22-year-old Blake, who won the world 100m title last year after Bolt was disqualified for a false start and beat Bolt in both the 100m and 200m at the Jamaican Olympic trials. Having risen to the occasion at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday, winning the 100m in dominant style over Blake and 2004 champion Justin Gatlin, Bolt said the 200m was his property.
“I’ve told Blake that the 200m will be different because that’s my pet event,” said Bolt. “I’m not going to let him beat me again. I’ve said that to him already.”
Bolt, who will also look to retain the 4x100m relay and may even compete in the 4x400m relay if he emerges from the 200m in good shape, said that winning the 100 had taken him one step nearer to the tag of legend. However, only a 200m victory, he said, would cement his claim to ‘greatest’ status.
“I think I have to wait until the 200m and then my fans have got to say ‘yes he is’ so I’m never going to say I’m the greatest until after my 200m.”
Bolt’s win in the 100 leaves Blake searching for consolation in the 200m, but Bolt said his younger team-mate had opened a Pandora’s Box with his victory at the Jamaican trials.
“Definitely the trials woke me up. Yohan gave me a wake-up call. He knocked on my door and said ‘Usain, this is Olympic year, wake up’ so I’m happy and I’m grateful for that moment because after that I refocused and I got my head together.”
Blake vows to roar again
Meanwhile, Blake, who could only claim silver in 9.75 seconds ahead of Justin Gatlin in 9.79 seconds, vowed to roar again, possibly in three more events.
“Usain is a world beater and he’s the fastest man in the world,” said Blake. “It’s my first Olympics and I won a silver medal. What more can I ask for? To be the second fastest man in the world behind Bolt is an honour.”
Blake, who received a three-month ban in 2009 for taking a drug that had a similar chemical structure to the banned tuaminoheptane, said that his Olympic adventure was far from over.
“No, it’s not mission over. I have the 200m, 4x100m and maybe 4x400m. We have the 200m coming up. I think it’s going to be an interesting one.”
Man arrested for throwing bottle on 100m track
Meanwhile, a man was in police custody after being arrested for throwing a bottle onto the track the second the men’s 100m final was about to start, according to London police.
The man shouted abuse then threw the bottle just as the showpiece final was about to get under way. As the starter called ‘set’ and the athletes rose to wait for the bang, the bottle landed behind the blocks in lane five, a few metres behind Blake. It came to a halt just as the sprinters set off.
“I was so focused I didn’t see anything,” said Blake. “I was so focused on just running to the line.”
The police spokesman told AFP that the man was arrested inside the Olympic Stadium ‘on suspicion of causing a public nuisance’.
“He had been heard to shout abuse and then threw a plastic bottle on to the track,” he said. “That was immediately prior to the start of the men’s 100m final. He remains in custody at an east London police station.”
US sprinter Justin Gatlin, who won bronze, said: “It was a little distraction and I didn’t know what it was. But when you’re in those blocks and the whole stadium’s quiet you can hear a pin drop.”
Gatlin said the incident had not affected the race.
“You just have to block it out and go out there and do what you got to do. You can’t complain about that, the race went on and it was a great race.”
“I have told Johan Blake that the 200m race will be different from the others because that’s my pet event. I am not going to let him beat me again in that race. I’ve said that to him already.”
“It’s the first Olympics of my career and I won a silver medal in it. There is nothing more I could have asked for. To be the second fastest man in the world behind Bolt is an honour.”
“It feels great to be back competing in the Olympics after eight long years. Just to come back and use my God-given talent of speed is special. I went out there and I did the best I could do.”
“I wanted to do well in the race and get into the 100m final but sadly I could not. I am happy to be here at the Games, I really am. I am gutted that I didn’t make the final but you can’t have it all.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2012.