No 200m in Lon­don for Bolt?

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

IT’S HARD to con­ceive of a 2017 World Cham­pi­onship with Usain Bolt run­ning just the 100 me­tres. Maybe he’s spoilt us all by do­ing both the 100m and 200m for all these years and win­ning al­most ev­ery­thing over both dis­tances.

Given that the 200m is his favourite event, his event choice for 2017 is even more baf­fling.

If he skips the 200m in Lon­don, his stated goal of break­ing 19 sec­onds will fall by the way­side.

To tell you the truth, I se­cretly imag­ined some­thing re­ally fast was on the cards at this sum­mer’s Rio Olympics af­ter his 200m semi-fi­nal. An easy-look­ing ef­fort pro­duced his fastest time ever at that stage of the com­pe­ti­tion – 19.78 sec­onds. Sadly, rain splashed the track be­fore the fi­nal.

Forty years ear­lier at the Mon­treal Olympics, the same thing hap­pened to Don Quar­rie (DQ). DQ might have made a run at the world record, but pre-race rain nar­rowed his fo­cus to sim­ply win­ning.

Faced with the same cir­cum­stances in Rio de Janeiro this sum­mer, Bolt pro­duced another run of 19.78 sec­onds to com­plete the dou­ble for the third time.


Con­ven­tional wis­dom once pos­tu­lated that as he got older, the wear and tear of run­ning the 100m would force the great man up in dis­tance. He has re­sisted that the­ory res­o­lutely, but 2017 might be the time for him to change.

In ad­di­tion, it wouldn’t hurt Ja­maica if Bolt didn’t use the world cham­pion’s wild card se­lec­tion to run the 100m in Lon­don since Asafa Pow­ell, the 2016 Di­a­mond League 100m win­ner, would in­herit his au­to­matic spot in the draw.

Di­a­mond League win­ners, like reign­ing World Cham­pi­ons, can re­ceive wild card se­lec­tions to the next World Cham­pi­onships. The catch is that coun­tries with a World Cham­pion and a Di­a­mond League win­ner in the same event must choose just one to com­pete.

When­ever Ja­maica has had this dilemma, the World Cham­pion has al­ways got­ten the nod.

Ja­maica would still have the right to have four men run the 100m in Lon­don, with Pow­ell us­ing the Di­a­mond win­ner’s wild­card and three oth­ers qual­i­fy­ing at the Na­tional Se­nior Cham­pi­onships.

If Bolt chooses to run only the 200m in Lon­don next year, it may suit him. It would elim­i­nate the event where the mar­gins for er­ror are the thinnest. It might also mit­i­gate a source of the in­juries he has suf­fered.

The bright side is that the 30year sprint king would reach the 200m fresh. If his train­ing goes well, Bolt would have a chance to break a world record in his last in­di­vid­ual cham­pi­onship race.

There could be no grander exit from ath­let­ics than that.



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