By Raaj Datta
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt inched closer to the gold after clocking in 20.18-seconds at the 200-metre semi-final on Wednesday. Bolt’s world record timing of 19.19-seconds in Berlin still stands tall, but the inimitable Bolt has a feeling that he can break it at the 2012 London Olympics.
The track here is faster and Bolt is in great shape, and nobody can write off the greatest sprinter just yet. A gold in the 200-metre today will put an end to all speculations and prove that small upsets are not the yardsticks that can measure Bolt.
Bolt’s Jamaican teammate, Blake, clocked in 20.01-seconds which was the fastest time in the opening semi-final.
Prior to Wednesday’s semi-final, Bolt clocked in 20.39 seconds in the opening heat of the 200-metre, while Blake timed 20.38. Bolt’s teammate is very much there in the finals, and the number one sprinter does acknowledge his presence. Though Bolt is back to his old ways of winning, Blake is the only one who can actually match up to the world record speed.
Bolt had suffered losses to Blake back-to-back at the Olympic trials in Jamaica at the Olympics trials. Given the way Bolt has put himself together, there’s nothing much left to imagination. At the extreme, either way, the gold and the silver medals will stay with Jamaica.
Blake knows what it takes to compete with Bolt. He is confident of his fitness and timing, but he doesn’t seem at ease.
Bolt has a distinctive style of his own. He hits only when he feels it necessary, and the ease at which he is running shows that he is indeed saving his energy for the best. Bolt was at level with some of the athletes in the semi-final run, but then there are sudden surges in his speed and he moves forward like wind as if he’s flying.
In the men’s 100-metre final on Sunday, there were speculations how he would fare. Bolt did the unthinkable. He set a new Olympic record of 9.63 seconds to show the world he’s the greatest.
Bolt, again in his inimitable style, said that there is no doubt whatsoever that he will recreate what he did at the Beijing Olympics. The 200-metre event is Bolt’s favourite; he’s focussed and he’s looking forward to it. Blake led the pack in the semi-final run, but there’s something about Bolt which makes him feel at the top.
The 9.63 seconds 100-metre run on Sunday saw him taking giant strides and each time his feet touched the ground, it was like a minuscule fraction of a second.
Today’s attempt may be Bolt’s fastest because he knows it’s for the gold. His extraordinary strides after a relaxed start look like he’s flying, with his feet hardly touching the ground. He is tall, but he runs like none other. He runs like he is running for his freedom.
Bolt might, as usual, start slow but it won’t come as a surprise when he bolts past his competitors in his usual supersonic speed.