Sun | Nov 19, 2017

Bolt's likely impact in the Bahamas at World Relays

Published:Thursday | April 30, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Usain Bolt

You've got to dig deep to remember the last time Usain Bolt ran a relay race for Jamaica and lost. His speed and his presence have all but assured victory in two Olympics, four World Championships and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Throw in the Bolt-anchored Penn Relays 4x100 record - 37.90 seconds from 2010 - and you have a list that literally jumps off the page.

Some have been solo runs for victory. Others have shown his remarkable competitive streak.

In London at the 2012 Olympic Games, a brilliant USA team reached the anchor leg a smidge before Jamaica got the baton to Bolt. A year later, the same thing happened at the World Championships in Moscow

In both cases, the result was the same. In London, the tall man surged forward to victory in the world record time of 36.90 seconds. In Moscow, USA anchor Justin Gatlin veered unintentionally into Jamaica's lane in the exchange zone. Nimble for a man 6-5 in stature, Bolt simply dilly-dallied past him.

The double-double Olympic sprint champion heads to Nassau for the second IAAF World Relays with times of 10.12 and 20.20 seconds, respectively, under his belt for the 100 and 200 metres this season.

back on the track

His interest in running two relays suggests that he and coach Glen Mills believe that he needs races. They're probably right. As reigning World Champion in both sprints, he need not run at the National Championships to qualify for the Jamaica team.

So he may feel that he has to find a way to simulate the championship atmosphere by competing in events with heats and finals, or where he can double. The World Relays fit that bill admirably.

His endgame is to be ready to return to Beijing for the World and repeat his 2008 Olympic double in that same Chinese city.

The Bahamians must be pleased. They have Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Gatlin, Carmelita Jeter and Allyson Felix, and their own Golden Knights.

Seventy-five per cent of that Olympic champion 4x400m team showed decent form at the Penn Relays. Running without veteran star Chris Brown, the Bahamians were a strong second to the USA. That should give home fans a good reason to come out in numbers.

By the way, that last Bolt relay loss came at the 4x100m at the 2007 World Championships, when a sensational anchor from Asafa Powell - timed in 8.8 seconds - secured the silver medal and Jamaica's first 4x100m clocking under 38 seconds.

It's been all glory and gold since then.

n Hubert Lawrence has been making notes at trackside since 1980.