Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Bolt forges ahead

Published:Sunday | July 24, 2016 | 7:58 AMHubert Lawrence
Usain Bolt of Jamaica goes to touch hands with officials after he won the men's 200 metres race during the Diamond League anniversary games at the Olympic Stadium in London on Friday.

Jamaica's Usain Bolt did more than prove his fitness for the upcoming Olympic Games with his fine 200 metres run in the London Diamond League meet last Friday.

His victory, timed in 19.89 seconds, established him as a gold medal contender for the sprints next month in Rio de Janeiro. However, the run also embellished his position as the finest 200 metres man of all time.

Already a three-time World champion and the two-time defending Olympic champion, Bolt logged his 32nd clocking under 20 seconds for the distance. Remarkably, it was the first 200 metres race of the season for the Glen Mills-coached sprinter.

CLASSY CAREER

Namibian hero Frank Fredericks, the 1993 World champion, ran under 20 seconds on 24 occasions during a classy career that ended in 2004. Next in line on the sub-20 productivity list is American Michael Johnson with 23. When Johnson won gold at the 1996 Olympics, he set a world record of 19.32 seconds in the final.

Bolt lowered that to 19.30 in the 2008 Olympic final and reduced it further to 19.19 seconds in the 2009 World Championships.

In 2004, while he was coached by Fitz Coleman, Bolt took sole ownership of the world junior record at the Carifta Games. Running brilliantly, he was timed in 19.93 seconds. That was his first sub-20 200 metres run.

In 2003, he had tied the mark set by American Roy Martin at 20.13 seconds.

There is, however, one 200m record Bolt doesn’t own and it is Fredericks’ world indoor standard of 19.92 seconds.

Unlike Fredericks, Bolt has never run the 200 metres indoors. At 6 feet 5 inches tall, the Jamaican would probably find the tighter curves restrictive.