As Usain Bolt withdrew his name from the Diamond League that was held in Monaco just a few days back, his coach claimed that he had a ‘slight problem’. And although he might not admit it – the ‘slight problem’ runs 100m in 9.75 seconds, standing at 5 ft 11” tall and is known as Yohan Blake. Blake is the one who got the better of the Olympic and former World champion at the time trials in Jamaica in both the 100m and 200m and if these are signs of things to come, then Bolt has a major problem in his hands.
But this is not the first time that everyone is wondering whether The Lightning Bolt can indeed be beaten. It was around this time last year when the Jamaican was struggling with his fitness and he took some time off, did some training and returned to the track in South Korea and bettered his own record by three-tenths of a second. And knowing Bolt, he could easily pull something similar again.
But the difference between this year and last year is that this time, he has to better himself and he knows that too. And even Bolt is aware that if he cannot pull things right, Blake has the capabilities in his to shoot him right down. The pressure that Bolt is in at the moment is very different from the pressure he has been under any time – it is different from knowing that a mistake will reduce the winning margin from 8m to 5m.
The best thing about Usain Bolt is that he has an air of arrogance in him, like a man who is least concerned with what is going on around him. But deep down, even the Jamaican knows that he cannot get things wrong this time. It was his false start that led the 21 year old to become the youngest ever World champion in 100m last August and at the Jamaican time trial, he handed another warning to the 25 year old that his Olympic crown is not as secure as he initially thought it to be. An image of Bolt that gives away his concern was when Blake completed his 200m at the Diamond League in Brussels with the second fastest time in history and the 25 year old bore a bemused look.
And in the opinion of his aides, even Bolt knows exactly how good the 21 year old Blake actually is. And perhaps, this is one of the very reasons that led to Bolt’s false start at the World Championships in South Korea. Although Bolt and Blake are not training partners, they belong to same club back home in Kingston, Jamaica. And this implies that Bolt cannot get away from Blake, even if he wants to. Blake, often called The Beast because of his hard training regimen is a reminder that might be eating away at Bolt from the inside slowly each and every day and unless he can win the Olympic Gold, his legacy will be in serious jeopardy.