'We'll get you that third gold Bolt' ... men ready for 4x100m assault
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:
In 2008 at the Beijing Olympic Games as Usain Bolt got ready for the 4x100m final and a possible third gold medal at the Games, Asafa Powell gave him a message that he promised also to deliver in Rio ahead of today's final.
Like he did at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games, Bolt is chasing a third triple gold medal performance at the Rio 2016 Games.
After his 100m and 200m successes here, one feels that only three good baton exchanges stand between him and another page in history, as he looks to become the first man to win three consecutive gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the Olympic Games.
The Jamaicans didn't need Bolt to qualify to the final with the team of Jevaughn Minzie, Powell, Nickel Ashmeade and Kemar Bailey-Cole running 37.94 for second place in their heat and have been drawn in lane 4 for today's final, which take place at 8:35 p.m.).
"I remembered in 2008 before the 4x100m final, I looked at him (Bolt) and told him I would make sure he got his third gold medal and world record, so I plan to do the same thing and I plan to do my part to make sure it happens again," Powell said.
"We are coming out with a stronger team, we aren't worried about anyone, we were never worried about anyone and won't start worrying about anyone now," he added before noting that breaking the country's 36.84 world record - a run he wasn't a part of.
"It's my last Olympics so it would be nice to come out with a world record as well," Powell smiled, before noting the challenges competing here as just a relay squad member.
For Ashmeade, who was a member of the Beijing and Moscow World Championships gold medal-winning 4x100m relay team, continuing the country's dominance in the event is of utmost importance.
"This is important for me, it's my only chance right now so I have to be smart about it and do my job. We qualified for the final and that's the main thing. It's very important and we have been dominating since 2008 so we need to continue that," he said.
Minzie, is competing in his first major senior international championships and he said making his Olympic bow was a dream come true.
"I feel good, I was waiting a very long time I feel good about that, I got to run today and got rid of some rust. I didn't feel any pressure at all, all I had to do was stay relaxed and get the baton around," Minzie said.
"For me to get a next gold medal would be really good to add to the tally, so all I'm looking forward to is the final," added Bailey-Cole, who ran in the heats at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Bolt and Blake are expected to come in to the team for the final.