More Sites
Cricket ODD Blues v Tigers Football EPL Ladder Football A-League Glory v Roar Football A-League City v Jets
Search
US athletes cast eye to Bolt, Jamaicans
Jim Slater
06:14 AEST Fri Jun 22 2012

Even as they prepare for the US trials to reach the London Olympics, American sprint stars have Usain Bolt and the Jamaicans who dominated the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the back of their minds.

The primary mission is to qualify for the Olympics with a top-three finish at the US meet starting Friday at Hayward Field, but after that comes a rematch in England against a Jamaican sprint squad that was dominant four years ago.

"We want to take that (dominance) back. The US team wants to run well," said Sanya Richards-Ross, the Jamaican-born US runner who has the fastest times in the world this year in the women's 200 and 400 meters.

On the men's side, the best US 100m time this year is 9.87 seconds by Justin Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100 champion who was unable to defend his title at Beijing while serving a four-year doping ban.

"A lot of athletes were taken aback by Usain coming up so far so fast. I was able to observe him from afar," Gatlin said.

"He's human. He's beatable. He has false started before. He's not perfect."

Bolt is, however, the reigning 100m and 200m Olympic champion and 200 world champion, although he false started out of last year's world 100 final and compatriot Yohan Blake went on to win the world crown.

Bolt set the 100m world record at 9.58 in Berlin at the 2009 worlds and has this season's three top times, the best a 9.76 to win last month in Rome. He will run in Jamaica's Olympic trials next week.

"We're planning on them being in that 9.58-area," said Gatlin's coach, former US sprint star Dennis Mitchell. "Whether or not we can get there remains to be seen, but we are working to be our best.

"These guys do astronomical things."

Mitchell, third in the 100 at the 1992 Olympics and a member of the 1992 US Olympic 4x100 gold medal relay, echoes Gatlin's thoughts that Bolt is not unbeatable.

London could feature Bolt, Blake and former world record-holder Asafa Powell of Jamaica against Gatlin, Beijing 100 and 200 bronze medalist Walter Dix and former world champion Tyson Gay, coming back after hip surgery last year.

"I'm excited to see these guys I'm competing against run and set down a good time," Gatlin said. "We're all going to be on Team USA against the world."

Mitchell, who began working with Gatlin last October, has been analyzing Bolt and all of the world's top runners to set better strategy and goals for Gatlin in his bid to redeem his name after the doping ban.

"The Jamaicans have established themselves as a sprint powerhouse. We have to deal with that," Mitchell said. "There has been an evolution to what they are doing. We have to understand that before we can challenge it."

When it comes to beating Bolt, Mitchell examines not only his strides but what he tries to do in each segment of the 100 and see where flaws can be exploited.

"It's about what you do throughout the race. We have to look at that and everything has to be tied together," Mitchell said.

"My job is to break down the math. I bring back that mathematical equation of what we need to do. We don't worry about competitors.

"It's not about beating Usain. It's not about beating the Jamaicans. It's about being the best that you can."

Did you like this article? Share your thoughts
SCHEDULEDAY0
27Jul
DAY1
28Jul
DAY2
29Jul
DAY3
30Jul
DAY4
31Jul
DAY5
1Aug
DAY6
2Aug
DAY7
3Aug
DAY8
4Aug
DAY9
5Aug
DAY10
6Aug
DAY11
7Aug
DAY12
8Aug
DAY13
9Aug
DAY14
10Aug
DAY15
11Aug
DAY16
12Aug
Opening Ceremony
Archery
Athletics
Badminton
Basketball
Beach Volleyball
Boxing
BMX
Cycling
Diving
Equestrian
Fencing
Football
Gymnastics
Handball
Hockey
Judo
Modern Pentathlon
Rowing/Canoe/Kayak
Sailing
Shooting
Swimming
Synchro
Table Tennis
Taekwondo
Tennis
Triathlon
Volleyball
Water Polo
Weightlifting
Wrestling
Closing ceremony
DAY0
27Jul
DAY1
28Jul
DAY2
29Jul
DAY3
30Jul
DAY4
31Jul
DAY5
1Aug
DAY6
2Aug
DAY7
3Aug
DAY8
4Aug
DAY9
5Aug
DAY10
6Aug
DAY11
7Aug
DAY12
8Aug
DAY13
9Aug
DAY14
10Aug
DAY15
11Aug
DAY16
12Aug
You need the latest version of Flash Player.
Enjoy the most vivid content on the web
Watch video without extra features
Interact with applications on your favourite sites
Upgrade now

You need the latest version of Flash Player.
Enjoy the most vivid content on the web
Watch video without extra features
Interact with applications on your favourite sites
Upgrade now