The 100m final at the Olympics is probably the tournament’s marquee event. Bolt sensationally stormed to the double gold in the 100m and 200m in Beijing and is widely tipped to do the same in London on the 5th of August 21.50(GMT).
The world is holding its breath in the build up to the sprint that will decide the title of fastest man on earth and for months the speculation has been ‘can anyone beat Bolt?’. Since Beijing, Bolt’s aura of invincibility has faded somewhat, especially when he was beaten by compatriot Yohan Blake in the Jamaican trials in both the 100m and 200m. That led to the Olympic champion’s withdrawal from all competitions prior to the main event with unspecified ‘problems’, he has also recently complained of a tight hamstring and has been sleeping in a seven foot orthopaedic mattress at his training camp in Birmingham in a bid to try and avoid a recurrence of the back injury that his plagued him at points in his career.
Usain Bolt wins gold in Beijing
Blake is the 100m world champion after claiming gold in Daegu in 2011 in 9.92 seconds, a race Bolt was disqualified from after a false start. The start remains Bolt’s Achilles' heel, in Beijing he was the second slowest out of the blocks and Blake will look to capitalise on any chink in the Olympic champion’s armour.
The 100m is shaping up to be one of the most exciting races ever. America’s Tyson Gay has hit a rich vein of form and will also be challenging. Throw into the mix, the English Summer and you could have conditions, wind and humidity that my level the playing field even more.
Blake is a close friend of Bolt and the 22 year old has credited his surge in form to his decision to leave his school coach and join Bolt under Glen Mills at the Racers Track Club in Kingston. Training with his friend every day has pushed him to better times and motivated him to train harder than anyone else at the club. His single-minded determinism is in stark contrast to the other Jamaican’s laid back persona.
The two are firm friends and will remain so despite the outcome of the most important race of their lives. The man he tipped as a future rival and dubbed ‘The Beast’ in 2009 is fast catching up with Bolt. In 2008, Bolt was way out in front of the field with 10% more gas in the tank than his rivals, some suggest that that is now closer to 5% and if it falls any more then Bolt could well be feeling the heat.
By Hugo Mc Cafferty