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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Bolt's biggest opponent still himself

Bolt's biggest opponent still himself

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1 Bolt's biggest opponent still himself on Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:48 am

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http://msn.foxsports.com/olympics/track/story/usain-bolts-biggest-opponent-still-himself-at-london-olympics-johan-blake-justin-gatlin-070312

Bolt's biggest opponent still himself

By Greg Couch
Foxsports.com
Jul 3, 2012


When American sprinter Justin Gatlin, who talks as fast as he runs, said recently that people are tiring of the Usain Bolt show, and that he was ready to step into the picture, Bolt blew him off.

“I don’t want to sound rude or anything,’’ Bolt said, “but I think Gatlin had his chance. That’s a funny thing he said . . . I think he has a few guys to get past before he worries about me.’’

The thing is, Bolt isn’t tired of the Usain Bolt show one bit. And at the time, he didn’t have anyone to worry about — certainly not Gatlin — going into the 100- and 200-meter sprints this summer at the London Olympics. Well, no one but himself, and his love of spotlight and entertainment.

Bolt finished second in the 100, and then again in the 200 this past weekend to his young training partner, Johan Blake, at the Jamaica Olympic trials. In fact, Bolt’s 9.86 seconds in the 100 was .06 slower than Gatlin’s 100 in the US trials.

So who does Bolt have to worry about now?

The answer is the same: Still only Bolt.

“It’s back to the drawing board,’’ he told reporters, after losing to Blake. “I feel a little bit weak, but I have three weeks, and hopefully, it will be enough to get me into shape. I am the Olympic champion, and I have to show the world that I am the best.’’

The truth is, it’s hard to trust Bolt, hard to trust his work ethic. He has just added to the intrigue of the signature moment of the Olympics, the 100-meter dash, and that just makes things way more interesting.

But at this point, it’s also impossible to know what we just saw with him. It’s possible that he celebrated these past four years of his greatness so much that he allowed a younger kid to pass him by. Or, it’s possible that Bolt was taking it easy.

All week at the US trials, runners crossed the finish line and said that winning wasn’t the objective. Making the Olympic team was.

In the prelimaries of the 200 meters, Allyson Felix ran way ahead of everyone else, and then slowed down and jogged the final 75 meters to a victory. No use burning up every bit of energy. No use risking injury.

In one 100-meter preliminary, the gun sounded and American Tyson Gay was noticeably still in the blocks for a split second. Then he burst out, took the lead, and went into a jog. It seemed that he just didn’t want to be DQ’d for a false start.

In so many races, the goal was to not lose. It was a funny thing about the trials, where third place was as good as first.

Did Michael Phelps really lose the 400 IM to Ryan Lochte in the US swimming trials? Or did he just qualify equally with Lochte, with a slower time?

Blake won the 100 in 9.75, which was great for him. But it wouldn’t have been great for Bolt. So it’s just hard to know for sure what Bolt’s times mean.

He does lose focus at times, blinded by the greatness of Bolt. He false-started at the world championships in 2011, and Blake went on to win. That was the only thing Bolt really had to avoid at the Jamaica trials.

Last week, Blake did leave him behind on the starting blocks. Was that another Bolt moment without focus? Or has he spent so little time on his starts that a hungrier Blake has not surpassed him? Or maybe Bolt was thinking that he didn’t need to bother.

He was going to make the Olympic team anyway, as long as he didn’t false-start. In the 200, Bolt got ahead of Blake, but then Blake ran him down.

Impossible. Look, Bolt is still the heavy favorite. Blake is second.

Gatlin is trying to get there, and Gay is still coming back from hip surgery.

But Bolt always makes things interesting. And Gatlin keeps talking.

“We’re going to go down there to take on the Jamaicans and anybody else who stands in our way,’’ said Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champ who is coming back from a steroid suspension. “If it’s going to be three Jamaicans in our way, or the whole world, that’s what it’s going to take to get gold. This season so far has been undefeated, and I’m just trying to ride the wave.’’

Is Bolt bothering to listen yet?

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