|Olympic champion Usain Bolt celebrates with Yohann Blake after winning the 100m gold on Sunday. [Photo: Reuters]|
While the world speculated about Usain Bolt’s form and fitness, the man himself never had any doubts and the Jamaican’s “no worries” approach was vindicated wonderfully when he won his second Olympic 100m gold in spectacular style on Sunday.
“All I know is what I’m capable of and if I can run 9.6 then nobody is going to beat me,” he told Reuters in June. “If everything is right there should be no problem.”
And on a cool August night in front of 80,000 fans clutching the hottest ticket in sport, he did just that, and they didn’t, and there wasn’t.
His 9.63 was the second-fastest time ever, behind his own 9.58 from Berlin, and was enough to leave compatriot Yohan Blake and American Justin Gatlin trailing for the minor medals.
A tight hamstring, a stiff back, a car crash, defeats by his upstart training partner Blake and a thousand enquiries about his readiness to race were all blown into the ether by another wonderful display of sprinting from the biggest draw of the Games.
Michael Phelps may have more medals and Britain’s supremely successful home athletes might raise a louder cheer but Bolt is and has always been the focal point of the London Olympics.
“Some of you guys doubted me. I just had to show the world I was the greatest,” he told reporters, before admitting to a few moments of his own uncertainty.
“The trials woke me up. Yohan gave me a wake-up call,” he said. “He knocked on my door and said ‘Usain this is the Olympic year, wake up’ after that I refocused and got my head together.”
With his mind refocused and his hamstring finessed back into shape by the healing hands of renowned German sports doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, Bolt was always going to be unbeatable in London.
In truth, any doubts had been dispelled in the semi-finals when he clocked 9.87 despite coasting for the last 30m.
There was none of the tightness or uncharacteristically laboured movement on display when he trailed Blake on home soil and then needed massage on the track to loosen his hamstring, immediately offering a sliver of encouragement to his rivals who had thought they would be racing for second.
As the Games drew nearer and Bolt withdrew from a planned 200m race in Monaco, the rumour mill went into overdrive.