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Disappointed Bolt a Bit Worried about His Race Execution

BoltHughes at the line

Olympic and World records holder Usain Bolt pulled in a massive throng to see him run inside the tiny Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island, New York Saturday (13). For although the men’s 200m, in which he was listed to compete was not a Diamond Race event in the IAAF Grand Prix series, it was clearly the main attraction and the final televised race of the day.


Bolt talks about his issues. -DPalmer photo

Despite that there has been no recent strike of lightning by Bolt, the hope of diehard fans sprang eternal that he would clock his first sub-20 seconds for the season as he told a press conference the day before that he was looking to do.

But after the fanfare of introduction and the buzz around the uncertainty of the outcome, the stadium fell into a hush for the start, except for two blares of a fog horn. Soon after Bolt and his seven competitors left the blocks, there was a tell-tale sign that there was a problem somewhere. Coming off the curve, he was nowhere near where he would normally be; his training partner, Anguilla’s Zharnel Hughes, was right on his shoulder and Bolt’s compatriot Julian Forte was ahead. At the top of the home straight, it was Bolt, Forte and Hughes until the Hughes stubbornly stuck with Bolt to the wire into a headwind of 2.8mps, just being out-dipped at the line where both runners looked across at each other with a smile.

The world record holder crossed the line in an uncharacteristic 20.29secs, with Hughes right there in 20.32. Further behind were Julian Forte in 20.46. The body language of Bolt was revealing as he waited to talk with NBC: he was not pleased. He then did the selfie routine before slowly walking the length of the grandstand to acknowledge the ovation from the crowd.

“This is one of the worst races I’ve run, he said in a post-race interview. “The curve was definitely the worst. I don’t know what went wrong, I can’t tell you what the problem is but I just have to go back and keep putting in the work.”

While Bolt insisted he was not too concerned about the time itself; he admitted that his real problem was in the first 100m, when he failed to produce any power, struggled around the curve and lost his drive going home.

He explained that once he realized he was level with Panama’s Alonzo Edwards, who he knew does not run the best of curves, he knew his own curve was not good.

Training Well

“It’s disappointing because I know I have been training well, so it’s tough to explain why it went so badly,” he told reporters as they repeatedly tried to extract from him what went wrong in the race.

He then assessed that this season wasn’t going too well and that he needed to “get on top of things and work my way back…with this pace, my legacy is going to be in trouble. I have been training so well, and then I come to competition and I’m not executing right, that’s the thing I’m worried about. I was feeling good, everything was going smoothly, I ran yesterday and my coach was happy, I was happy, but I really don’t know what happened today.”
He noted that he didn’t think there was anything physical wrong and that his mental game was strong as usual.

The Jamaica National Trials to select the team to the World Championships in August is in two weeks, but as the defending champion of the sprint double, Bolt has an automatic spot at the Games and does not have to compete at the Trials. The fitness status, however, anticipates that his decision could be otherwise than staying away. He predicted: “With this performance it’s likely that I will be competing at the National Trials to get some more races in.

“I will have to sit with my coach and try to figure out what is going on and work on it.”

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