André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Jamaica could celebrate its seventh, eighth and even ninth medals today as the trio of Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Warren Weir line up in the final of the men's 200m at the London Olympic Games.
However, Bolt, the defending champion and World Record holder, has played down talk of a medal sweep while lauding training partner Weir for his performances so far.
Bolt, who can become the first man to repeat sprint doubles at the Olympic Games, watched from trackside as Weir, who is competing in his first senior international championships and who only took up the 200m seriously last year, eased up in second place with a time of 20.28 seconds for a spot in the final.
With the fast-rising Weir, Bolt and Blake - the second-fastest man over the distance with 19.26 - representing Jamaica in the final, talk has been rife about a possible 200m sweep for the Caribbean island.
There have been six men's 200m sweeps in the history of the Olympic Games, with the USA achieving the feat on each occasion, the most recent at the 2004 Games in Athens.
Despite the obvious firepower among the Jamaican ranks, Bolt believes it will be extremely difficult for his teammates to monopolise the medal podium during the 200m medal ceremony, considering what they will be up against.
'Wait and see'
"It's (medal sweep) going to be hard," said Bolt. "Churandy (Martina) is ready, Wallace Spearmon is there and we have been here before, so he knows what it is to be a champion. (Christophe) Lemaitre didn't look too good in his heat, but he is a fighter, so there are a lot of people looking to spoil the party, so we'll see."
Bolt, who said he only ran about 90m in his semi-final while focusing on executing a good curve, is happy with where he is heading into the final and was particularly impressed by Weir's development.
"I ran about 90 metres there," said Bolt. "I was working on my technique around the corner, didn't really want to push myself. I just wanted to see how I felt going around the corner.
"Execution, I think, was pretty much 90 per cent ... didn't feel that bad, so I am going to ask my coach for a few pointers and then we work on it for the final," he added.
Bolt labelled Weir's qualification for the final as "awesome".
"That's awesome. For me, that's wonderful. It's his first Olympics and it's good for him to make the final, and if he goes out there and really focuses on what he wants and pushes himself, he can do wonders. But it's his first Olympics and I don't think he should pressure himself too much, just go out there and do his best," Bolt advised.
Blake, who finished second to Bolt in the 100m, is desperate to get one over his friend, training partner and mentor in London and believes he stand a good chance.
"I think I should have won the 100m, but I tightened up a bit towards the end. But in the 200m, anything is possible," Blake said. "All I can say is, it will be a good race."
Also on track today for the Jamaicans is Round One of the men's 4x400m relay, which is expected to feature most of the same cast that participated in last year's bronze-medal finish at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics, while the women's 4x100m heats are also on the card.
There have been unconfirmed reports that women's sprint relay squad member Schillonie Calvert is nursing an injury and it remains to be seen if she will be able to play any role in the event.