News06 Aug 2012

For Bolt, second 100m title ‘first step’ towards legendary status


Usain Bolt celebrates winning gold in the 100m at the London 2012 Olympics (© Getty Images)

London, UKUsain Bolt may have defended his Olympic 100m title, but he has not yet attained his stated ambition of becoming "a legend".

"That’s the first step for me," he said. "If I have won the 200 metres title also that’s when I will consider myself a legend. So this is just a step in the door and I’m looking forward to the 200."

"Becoming a legend is my ultimate goal. That’s my goal right there. It’s always been clear that that means defending my titles. Defending my 100 metres is a step towards it, but now I have got to do the same thing in the 200 – and I hear Yohan Blake has been saying a few things about that," he added with a smile.

After losing twice to his young training partner Blake at the Jamaican trials, Bolt had arrived in London, in his own phrase, "95 per cent fit." So he was happy to agree with the suggestion that this 100m title meant more to him than the one he had secured in such astonishing fashion in Beijing four years earlier.

"Yeah, it really means a lot because a lot of people doubted me, a lot of people were saying I wasn’t going to win, that I didn’t look good. There was a lot of talk. So it was great to come out and show that I was still the No1, that I’m the still the best.

"It’s definitely harder defending a title than winning it in the first place. When you get to the top of something you can lose sight of things, of what is going on. People are telling you that you are great.

"At the trials, Yohan Blake beat me twice, and that opened my eyes. I thought 'This is the Olympics. Are you ready for them?’"

Bolt admitted that the memory of his false start and disqualification in the 100m final at last year’s World Championships in Daegu, which Blake went on to win, was still a concern for him.

"It’s behind me, but it does play on my mind. I would be delighted if I could say I didn’t think about it. I was a bit nervous before the start. But when I came out into the stadium and the crowd gave me such a welcome when they heard my name the jitters just went away, and I thought to myself 'This is game time.’"

Bolt said he had been unaware of the incident that took place as the 100m field were set on their marks, when a beer bottle was thrown onto the track just behind them, coming to rest a couple of feet behind Blake in lane five. A man was subsequently arrested by Metropolitan Police.

His main concern at that moment was, quite simply, not to be too concerned.

"My coach explained to me after the trials that I had to stop worrying about my start and concentrate on the end of the race, because that’s where I rule," Bolt said.

"It wasn’t the perfect start. I think I sat in the blocks. But for me it was then about just executing.
"When I got to 50 metres and looked round I knew I was going to win, so I just ran, pretty much. I almost did that thing I did in Beijing.

"There wasn’t any pressure really. After the semi-final I was really confident because I could feel my legs and my legs felt good. I didn’t really remember I was racing against the clock until maybe 25, 30 metres to go. I looked across at the clock but it was too late. But it was the second fastest time in the world so I’m happy.

"Was it the perfect race? I’m not going to say 'yes’ because I know my coach will say 'no.’"

Bolt explained that he had sat down with his coach, Glen Mills, to sort out how he should proceed in order to regain his best form in time for London. He subsequently visited the German doctor, Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt.

"Muller-Wohlfahrt is a major part of my success in my career," Bolt said. "I have been going to him since I was 18, 19 and first started getting injured. He has really done a number, great work for me.

"After the trials I went to him and he looked at all my muscles and told me I was going to do great. He told me to go and run. And he gave my coach the go-ahead to brutalise me in training, which he did."

Asked about whether he still intended to run a 400 metres, and whether he could achieve a sub-45sec timing, Bolt responded: "Right now I’m concentrating on the 200 metres and the 4x100. I will leave any decisions about running 400 metres until after the Games."

And the double Olympic 100m champion did not rule out seeking a further defence of his title at the 2016 Games in Rio.

"I hope I’m there," he said. "I’m going to be 30 but I think I will still be in good shape. Blake will be 26, so that could be interesting. So I’m looking forward to it."

Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF
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