Bolt withdraws from final tuneup before Olympics
LONDON, England, Wednesday July 11, 2012 – One month before the 100-meter final at the London Olympics, Usain Bolt has pulled out of the July 20 Monaco Diamond League meet with "a slight problem" that occurred during the recent Jamaican Olympic trials, his coach Glen Mills said.
The injured sprinter’s withdrawal followed the double blow of losing in the 100 and 200 to training partner Yohan Blake at the trials. His absence from the Monaco meet, which was to have been his final tuneup before the games, leaves him facing the Olympics in the wake of two consecutive losses.
Despite the withdrawal, the 25-year-old sprint sensation insisted he'll be at the games to retain the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay titles he won in Beijing four years ago in world-record times.
"I am happy to have earned my spot on the Jamaican Olympic team despite the challenge," Bolt said in a statement. "I will be in London to defend my titles."
After congratulating his victorious training partner Blake following the 200 in Kingston, Bolt lay flat on his back and had his right hamstring stretched out by a trainer. His loss two days earlier in the 100 came after a poor start.
According to coach Mills: "After careful assessment I have had to withdraw him from the Samsung Diamond League Meeting in Monaco on July 20 to give him sufficient time for treatment and time to train and prepare for the Olympic Games in London."
The coach confirmed that the injury was from Bolt’s participation at the National Trials, but did not elaborate on the nature of the problem.
Having built a reputation for being unbeatable in the 100 and 200 over the past four years and powering to Olympic and back-to-back world titles in the sprint events, Bolt lost twice in three days to Blake in Kingston. He nevertheless remains confident.
"I can never be discouraged," Bolt insisted. "I'm never worried until my coach gets worried, and my coach isn't worried, so I'm OK."
Despite the recent setbacks, current and former athletes believe Bolt will be back at his best for the games.
"I found Usain to be a bit labored (at the trials)," American challenger and former 100 world champion Tyson Gay said. "He gave the impression that he was forcing it, which is unlike him. However, these two races don't change things as regards to the London Games.
"Yohan may give the impression today that he's a bit of a cut above the rest ... Usain still has a month to get back into shape. He's a major championships man."
Former 200 and 400 Olympic champion Michael Johnson said Bolt was still his pick for gold. The American said Bolt was capable of lowering his 100 world record of 9.58 seconds to 9.4.
"I think Usain can do whatever he wants to do," Johnson said on the website of the Laureus sports academy. "He's got that type of talent and he wants to win three gold medals again.
"If he gets to the starting line healthy, at his best, everyone else at their best, he wins every time. I mean he's just that good."