Jamaicans provide some smiles in 200m at IAAF World Championships
Racing in a lane next to one of the big-name Jamaicans sure was a laugh. They certainly brought a few smiles to the sprints yesterday at the World Championships. Usain Bolt was already chuckling with the runner next to him before he crossed the finish line in the 200 metres.
Another of the country's champions, Veronica-Campbell Brown, was up to a different sort of hijinks, veering out of her lane and into the one next to her after she rounded the turn in her 200m heat.
No damage done in either race.
Bolt won his heat easily in 19.95 seconds, beating South Africa's Anaso Jobodwana, who has now run next to 'The World's Fastest Man' in three straight major championship semi-finals.
"Usain Bolt is a living legend," Jobodwana said. "I was smiling to be so close to him."
And Campbell-Brown advanced to the next round, as well. She was not disqualified for veering from Lane 5 to Lane 6 because she didn't impede the lane's rightful owner, British runner Margaret Adeoye.
"I was like, 'Was that me or was that her?'" said Adeoye, who finished third in the heat to advance. "It helped me get to the finish line."
Campbell-Brown, the woman known simply as 'VCB' back on the island, grimaced as she realised she was changing lanes. It's not like her, and it could have cost her dearly. She's a two-time Olympic gold medallist in the event and this might be her last, best chance at a second World title. Two of the best runners at the distance - Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Allyson Felix - are sitting this one out.
Asked to explain her meandering ways, Campbell-Brown only said she had a headache, before making a quick right turn to head to the practice track.
She'll return today, along with Bolt, where the running will get more serious.
Campbell-Brown is in the semi-finals and Bolt will race in the final, in another sprint showdown with Justin Gatlin.
While Gatlin ran 19.87 - the second-fastest semi-final in the history of World Championships - Bolt shut things down early and finished in 19.95.
In the midst of decelerating, Bolt turned back to share a smile with Jobodwana, who ran hard to the finish and still couldn't catch up.
All three times he's run next to Bolt, Jobodwana said he's "been right next to him and kind of making him run, even though he really wasn't running".
Chances are, Bolt won't share any smiles with Gatlin until well after today's race is over.
"It's all about focus now," Bolt said. "Getting focused and showing the people that when it comes to the big time, I always show up and get things done."