Fri | May 26, 2017

More gold awaits Bolt in Rio

Published:Thursday | September 3, 2015 | 9:00 AM
Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer Jamaica's Usain Bolt inspects a camera while preparing for the medal presentation ceremony at the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships inside the Bird's Nest Stadium, Beijing, China, yesterday. Bolt clocked 9.79 seconds to win the gold medal in the men's 100-metre final.


Hard as this is to believe, there were questions about Usain Bolt when the World Championships first started.

Was he healthy enough? Was he fit enough? Was he - gasp! - fast enough?

Yes, yes, and a resounding yes!

The Jamaican great left the Bird's Nest with three more gold medals and ended any suspicions about his dominance. Just in time, too, with the Olympic track competition in Rio de Janeiro starting 49 weeks from now.

All the doubts about Bolt - his fitness, and whether Justin Gatlin might be primed to beat him - only provided more fuel.

"People pretty much counted me out this season," Bolt said. "They said, 'He's not going to make it. That's it for him.' I came out and proved you can never count Usain Bolt out. I'm a champion, and I'll show up when it matters."

As if there was ever a doubt.

The only thing that tripped him up was a clumsy cameraman who ran into him from behind on a two-wheel motorised vehicle. He even bounced back from that, anchoring the 4x100 relay team to gold after winning the 100 and 200 on his own.

One thing that became clear as the meet went on is that Bolt doesn't just beat people by being faster, he gets in their heads, too.

Gatlin lost the 100 on a last-second lean that many viewed as a pressure-induced mistake. The US relay team missed the handoff - and Bolt said he pretty much expected that.

"We just know the key thing is just to get the baton around. Doesn't matter," Bolt said. "Because the US knows we always have the best team, they tend to panic. Pressure gets to them sometimes."

Gatlin appears to be the only man with the speed to push Bolt. Beating him is another matter.

"What will it take?" Gatlin said. "It will take staying in front. That's what it's going to take."

Good luck with that!