Bolt’s 9.72 World Record
World record-holder Usain Bolt beat former record-holder Asafa Powell in the 100-meter final Saturday night in Jamaica’s Olympic trials, finishing in 9.85 seconds.
Powell was second in 9.97.
“We are good friends and that’s why I have been telling everyone that it won’t be a clash here,” Bolt said. “We just came to qualify for the Olympics, but in the end, I guess the crowd was a little disappointed with this.”
Last month in New York, Bolt ran a 9.72 to break Powell’s world record of 9.74.
“I just went out there to execute the first 50 and, in the end, I am very pleased with my performance,” Powell said. “The aim was to make the team and, I did that, so I am OK. … I’m just coming off an injury, so I did what I had to do.
Kerron Stewart won the women’s 100 in 10.80, the second-fastest time by a Jamaican woman ever. Shelly-Ann Fraster was second in 10.85, Sherone Simpson followed in 10.87 and world champion Veronica Campbell-Brown was fourth in 10.87.
“My aim first was to make the team. It wasn t about the time, but I am very pleased with 10.80 seconds,” Stewart said.
In the women s triple jump, Trecia Smith, the 2005 world champion, won at 44 feet, 8 inches. Mardrea Hyman (4:21.00) and Kevin Campbell (3:56.97) won the 1,500s, and Melaine Walker (54.58) and Danny McFarlane (48.68) took the 400 hurdles.
Sprinter Usain Bolt may be a spoiler in Beijing
Jamaican a serious challenger to Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay at the Olympics
Jamaican Usain Bolt celebrates setting the second quickest time ever of 9.76 in the men’s 100 metres during the Jamaica International Invitational meet in Kingston. (Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Jamaica’s world 100-metre record holder Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay, the reigning world 100 and 200 champion from the U.S., are expected to clash in the 100 at the Beijing Olympics. But now a third athlete could upset the apple cart.
Usain Bolt turned in a stunning performance in the Jamaica International track and field meet in Kingston this past weekend, suddenly becoming a contender for the title “world’s fastest man.”
As Gay watched from trackside, the 21-year-old Jamaican exploded from the blocks to record a superb 100 time of 9.76 seconds. That’s just two one-hundredths of a second off Powell’s world record.
“I was surprised. I wasn’t expecting that so early in the season,” said Bolt from his home in Kingston where he is known locally as “Lightning Bolt.”
“I have done a lot of work. I have been working on a lot of stuff that I didn’t last season and it has all come together. I haven’t really started training yet for the 200 because the plan was to do some 100s and then get into the 200s. I guess the speed and technique have come together at the right time and I did well….”
Still learning how to run
Skeptics have surfaced, naturally, saying they would like to see Bolt run as fast in European meets rather than on home soil. Others note that once he understands how to run the 100 race properly he could smash the world record.
“I haven’t thought about the world record,” he said. “I don’t know what the future holds for me. I am just looking forward to my next 100.”
A year ago, Bolt won the 200 silver medal behind Gay at the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan. He rarely contests the shorter dash. Indeed, his best time prior to the Kingston race was a decent but unspectacular 10.03 seconds. Now the track world waits to see what he can accomplish in his specialty. He is set to race his first 200m at the Golden Spike Meet in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on June 12.
Gay will not be in the field that day, nor will Wallace Spearmon who won the bronze medal in Osaka. The meet director expects instead a race against the clock. Bolt’s personal best in the distance is 19.75 seconds while the world record held by Michael Johnson is 19.32.
At six-foot-five and weighing 190 pounds, Bolt is an impressive athlete. He first attracted attention at the 2003 IAAF world youth championships in Sherbrooke, Que., where he handily won the 200 gold medal.
A year later he set a world junior 200 record of 19.93 seconds, which still stands. Despite his sudden notoriety in track’s glamour event he is still not sure whether he will attempt a 100-200 double in Beijing.
He’ll do what coach says
“No actually, I have suggested to my coach that, maybe at this stage, I do one event in Beijing,” he said. “I am not sure which one he wants me to do. I may do the 200. I don’t want to double. But if my coach thinks I can double then I will double. It’s all about what my coach thinks.
“As you said, the 100 is more prestigious and people look up to the 100 champion a lot more. I think it would be good to win the gold in the 100 but that’s up to my coach.”
Born in Trelawny on Jamaica’s northwest coast, Bolt was an all-round cricketer until he had some success in high school track. He remains friends with several members of the West Indies Cricket team and whenever he can he attends one-day cricket internationals. The son of a coffee production manager and a dressmaker, he laughs when he admits he doesn’t drink coffee.
Apart from the three months he is on the European track circuit each year Bolt, like Powell, prefers life on the island. He has bought a house that is undergoing renovation. When the Olympic Games are over he plans to return to studies at the University of Technology in Kingston.
Making big bucks
Financially he must be doing quite well. He is sponsored by Puma and by Digicel, a leading Caribbean telecommunications company. On top of that he earns five-figure appearance fees and prize money at IAAF championship events. His winnings in Osaka were $40,000 US — $30,000 for his 200 silver medal and another $10,000 as his share of Jamaica’s silver-medal winning 4×100 relay team.
Four years ago he switched coaches, preferring Glen Mills who guided St Kitt’s & Nevis sprinter Kim Collins to the 2003 world 100 title. He and his teammates train together at the National stadium in Kingston while his rival Powell uses the spartan facilities at the University of Technology. The pair are friends but until recently competed in different events.
“Yes sometimes we hang out, not a lot, sometimes,” he said. “He likes cars and we talk a lot about cars. I have a Honda Accord. He really loves cars.”
Bolt laughs at his last statement. It is well known that Powell owns five luxury cars including a white Mercedes and a sporty Nissan Skyline.
Whichever event he chooses to enter in Beijing he will likely face Tyson Gay. The American is a strong championship performer and has impressive credentials, including a 200 personal best of 19.62 seconds, the second fastest time in history. Having the opportunity to race Gay is a tantalizing prospect for the young Jamaican.
“Definitely I always look forward to running against Tyson Gay because he is one of the better athletes,” Bolt said. “I am really looking forward to competing with him.”
JAMAICA’S Usain Bolt clocked a 100m world record of 9.72 seconds today to electrify the Reebok Grand Prix athletics meeting.
The 21-year-old broke the previous record of 9.74 set by compatriot Asafa Powell in Rieti, Italy last September.
With a 1.7m tailwind at the New York meeting, Bolt finished ahead of 100m and 200m World Champion Tyson Gay of the United States (9.85) and American Darvis Patton (10.07).
On a night when thunderstorms and the threat of lightning forced a 45 minute disruption to the action – and that after the start of the meet was delayed for an hour – Bolt delivered the real jolt of the night.
The 1.95m tall Jamaican immediately became the man to beat as the athletics season builds toward the Beijing Olympics in August, with Gay, Powell and the rest of the world’s sprinters relegated to the role of challengers.
“This world record doesn’t mean a thing unless I get the Olympic gold medal, or win at the world championships,” he said.
Bolt, the 200m world championships silver medallist, had set the athletics world buzzing on May 3, when he clocked 9.76 – then the second-fastest time in history – at a meeting in Kingston.
With that performance he appeared poised to live up to his earlier credentials, which included world junior records and status as the youngest man to reach a World Championship sprint final, at Helsinki in 2005.
While Bolt is now front and centre in the 100m reckoning, he said the 200m remains his passion.
“I always say the 200 is my favorite race. That’s not going to change,” said Bolt, who is considered by many a likely threat to Michael Johnson’s 200m world record of 19.32 set in Atlanta in 1996.
On the same East River island in New York City – but at a different stadium – that saw Leroy Burrell and Frank Budd set previous 100m world records, Bolt blazed out of the blocks and was never threatened.
“I knew if I got out of the blocks OK, I’d have a good chance,” Bolt said. “I knew this was a fast track and that I was ready to run something in the 9.7’s.
“But 9.72, that’s pretty good. When I saw the time they put on the board (at first 9.71) I realised it was something special.”
The large contingent of Jamaican fans among the sellout crowd of 6,490 at Icahn Stadium went wild with delight.
“There were a lot of Jamaican fans here tonight,” Bolt said. “I got a lot of support. I think they’re pretty happy right now.
“I’m not sure whether the weather helped or not,” he added. “It was kind of rainy early, but then it changed – guess it was all right, after all.”
Gay applauded the performance, but insisted it didn’t change his approach to Beijing.
“I was only one-hundredth off my own PR (personal record) so you can see what a great race Usain ran tonight,” Gay said.
“I’m not surprised that he ran that well. After all, he had that 9.76,” Gay added. “But this was just one race, it was only my second 100 of the year. I’m not going to change the programme. I’m right on schedule.”
Olympic 200m champion Shawn Crawford was a distant sixth.
“He was awesome,” Crawford said of Bolt. “We all want to be number one, but this was his night.
“Give him credit. But it doesn’t mean everything. There’s no reason it can’t be different next time.”
Despite his triumph, Bolt said much the same.
“There aren’t going to be any celebrations,” said Bolt, who said his next start will be in Ostrava. “This was just one race. There’s a whole lot more to go.”