Usain Bolt insisted “this is my time” ahead of his bid to become the first man to win back-to-back Olympic titles in both the 100m and 200m — despite the emergence of Jamaican rival Yohan Blake.
Bolt told the website of Britain’s Guardian newspaper on Tuesday that he was ready to cast off an indifferent build-up and make history at London 2012, four years after his show-stopping performance at the Beijing Games.
Fired up: Jamaican sprint ace Usain Bolt. PIC/Getty Images
“This will be the moment, and this will be the year, when I set myself apart from other athletes in the world,” he said. “A lot of legends, a lot of people, have come before me. But this is my time.”
The 1.96m (six foot five) Jamaican lit up Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium in 2008 when he smashed the 100m world record to claim gold with apparent ease, raising his arms in celebration well before crossing the finish line.
Bolt, now 25, also galloped to victory in the 200m, in another world record time, and helped Jamaica win the 4x100m, lining him up for a second successive treble in London.
But the world’s fastest man, with the distinctive bow-and-arrow celebration, has had an unexpectedly rocky preparation for the London Games.
Bolt ran his slowest 100m in three years at Ostrava in May, and last month he was stunningly twice beaten by the 22-year-old Blake in both short sprints at the Jamaican Olympic trials.
He later withdrew from the Monaco Diamond League meeting citing a “slight problem”, sparking intense injury speculation, and was also involved in a minor car crash.
But Bolt said losing to Blake had helped him recapture his focus. “It’s always good to lose. It wakes you up,” he explained.
“Each training session I’m getting better and better,” Bolt added. “I have no other duties now, no worries, it’s all about training, eating and sleeping. “I have a lot more time and can put a lot more effort into training. I’m feeling better every day. As long as I’m feeling myself I’m definitely in no doubt I can go to the Olympics and win.”
Jamaica skipper Frater backs Bolt to defend 100m title
Michael Frater, captain of Jamaica’s Olympic team, yesterday backed Usain Bolt to retain his Olympic 100m title.
Frater, who was part of Jamaica’s world record breaking 4x100m teams, both in Beijing and Daegu with times of 37.10 and 37.04 respectively, described Bolt as a special talent. “I wouldn’t bet against Bolt,” Frater told a press conference at Jamaica’s training base at the University of Birmingham. “He (Bolt) is a special athlete.”
The 22-year-old Jamaican reigning World Champion defeated his compatriot in the 100m and 200m at last month’s Olympic trials in their home nation.
Yet another Jamaican sprinter in the fray for Olympic glory, Powell is a hot favourite with a season best of 9.85 sec and a career best of 9.72 sec.
The American is the second fastest man in the history of the 100m (9.69s) and the only athlete to have beaten Bolt apart from Powell and Blake.
The American recently achieved a career best timing of 9.80 sec and is also considered amongst the top contenders on the basis of his current form.