London – A laid back Usain Bolt has decided the best way to improve his not-so-perfect start is not to worry about it, the Jamaican world record holder said on Thursday.
“The more I focused on it, I think the worse it got,” Bolt told Reuters in an interview following a packed news conference.
Starting has never been a work of art for Bolt as he struggles to squeeze his long legs into the blocks and then tries to get them moving at full stride but the woes have increased in the past 12 months.
First there was the false start in the final of last year's world championship 100 metres that ended his chances of defending his title in South Korea.
Then a month ago at the Jamaican Olympic trials, a sluggish Bolt lost the 100 and 200 to world sprint champion and training partner Yohan Blake, as in the shorter race he was way off the pace over the opening strides.
“So I sat down with my coach,” Bolt said in an interview arranged by his kit sponsor Puma.
“He said stop worrying about the start and compete. So that is the plan (in London). Forget the start and get it (the race) right.”
A strained hamstring that slowed him at the Jamaican trials has healed, and the world's top sprinter says he is now in championship mode with no major thought of trying to better his 2009 world record of 9.58 seconds for the 100 metres.
“For me, it is all about the win,” he said. “I am not really worried about a world record now.”
The goal, he said, is to defend the 100 and 200 metres. Only then will he consider himself a legend in a sport he dominates.
“And I am going out there and get it done,” he said.
Along the way, he could be participating in the greatest sprint in athletics history.
The world's second-fastest man, Tyson Gay of the United States, world champion Blake, Jamaica's former world record holder Asafa Powell and American 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin will all be gunning for Bolt on Aug. 5 when a rapid time will obviously be needed for gold.
“It is going to be great,” said Bolt, who left the field trailing in the distance when he triumphed in Beijing.
“I think people need to realise these guys are really stepping their game up.”
Training partner Blake has caught the world's attention with his victories over Bolt in the Jamaican trials and his explosive starts have left some observers wondering if Bolt is not quite as confident as he seems.
The man himself, however, is taking it all in his considerable stride.
“I would definitely say he has gotten noticed by the world and by me – he has really shown I need to take notice,” Bolt said of his latest rival.
“(But) I don't see any pressure, not more than Tyson or Asafa.”
Jamaicans no doubt would like to see their men sweep the 100 metres medals just as the Jamaican women did in Beijing - albeit with two silvers after a dead heat.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce claimed the gold with Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart sharing the silver.
Bolt called it a possibility for the men “as long as one of us doesn't buckle under the pressure.”
What he would guarantee was that no one would beat him if he was leading the race.
“If I am leading you are not going to pass me,” he said. “It is not overconfidence. I know what I can do.
“I have no worries.” – Reuters