Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, will attempt to break his 9.58 seconds 100-meter record in London at this summer’s Olympic Games. The Jamaica native is receiving both praise and pressure from some of the Olympics’ most famous track and field champions.
Tommie Smith is the latest vet to predict Bolt’s outcome. Smith set a world record in the 200 meters during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Smith told Reuters that Bolt could possibly come in at “8.9, 8.88, three eights in the 100 meters.” In ’68, Smith ran a then-world record 19.83 seconds, which Bolt bested (19.30) at Beijing in 2008.
Ironically, Bolt’s competition and training partner Yohan Blake beat Bolt last month in the Jamaican Olympic Trials in both the 100 and 200 meter sprints. Bolt’s agent Ricky Simms told the Associated Press Bolt is “feeling good” ahead of the London Games. Smith is also confident Bolt will be at his best.
Smith said, “If [Bolt] gets a Blake start in the 200 and comes off the turn with that technique of his, he might really go sub-19.”
Smith isn’t the only former gold-medal winning sprinter who is raising the bar for Bolt. Last week, Michael Johnson said he believes Bolt has the ability to run 100 meters in 9.4 seconds. Though not as daunting a task as Smith’s prediction of a sub-9 100, the mark would still be a new world-record.
Johnson, the star of the ’96 Atlanta Games, told Laureus.com, “If Usain was to be really focused and committed on cleaning up his technique he could probably run 9.4 seconds but he would have to do some major training and adjustments in the way that he runs.”
Johnson added, “If he gets to the starting line healthy, at his best, everyone else at their best, he wins every time…he’s that good.”