Blake spoils Bolt's party
The Jamaican Olympic Athletics Trials promised fireworks heading into the four-day championship at the National Stadium and it delivered — just not the way most had it scripted.
Double world record holder Usain Bolt was the star attraction going into the event, which attracted over 70 foreign journalists, as he prepared for his second Olympics.
But a much fitter and faster Yohan Blake, who goes by the nickname “The Beast”, spoiled the party. After Friday’s win in the 100 metres and Sunday’s victory over Bolt in the 200m, Blake has established himself as the sprinter to beat in the London Games.
With a number of fast times and solid performances coming out of the Olympic trials, sprinters from the Caribbean island look set to continue their dominance at global events.
But coach Maurice Wilson cautioned that the expectations “must be put in perspective,” saying while the Jamaican team will have good coaching and naturally-gifted athletes, “the resources available to the USA athletes for example could give them an added edge, not in their performance but making them that bit more comfortable.”
The trials also saw the emergence of some new stars who will seek to forge their own identities while a number of former top athletes faded into the twilight.
Olympic 400m hurdle champion Melanie Walker, former world champion 100m hurdler Brigitte Foster-Hylton and quarter miler Novlene Williams-Mills were among the winners on the weekend.
While not ready to count medals, the coaches confident the team would do well in London, given the depth of the performances on the weekend.
At the trials, two world leading times, including a stunning 9.75 seconds in the 100m and 19.80 seconds in the 200m, rocketed Blake into the spotlight and relegated Bolt to second billing something he has not had to deal with since his rise to fame in 2008.
Many were stunned by Blake's raw power on Friday in the 100m and two days later there was a buzz of anticipation heading into the 200m final.
In the 200m, Blake trailed Bolt coming off the curve but his superior speed kicked in with 60m to go, leaving Bolt grimacing in his wake. Bolt finished in 19.83 seconds.
Bolt vowed to come back from his first loss in the 200m in more than four years.
“It is not like I was blown away,” Bolt said.
Blake was not the only one making headlines as Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took the women's double in new personal best times of 10.70 seconds and 22.10 seconds.