KINGSTON, Jamaica - The Associated Press
Bolt (R) congratulates Blake after the 200-meter race at Jamaican Olympic trials.
In a result that can no longer be considered a surprise, Yohan Blake beat Usain Bolt in the 200 meters at Jamaican Olympic trials on July 1, finishing in 19.80 seconds to edge the world-record holder by 0.03.
“Usain always gives me a lot of encouragement and tells me to keep coming to this race,” Blake said.
When it was over, Bolt was the first one to approach his training partner and friend and give him a big bear hug. Moments later, Bolt was down on the ground, getting his right hamstring stretched out, while Blake was celebrating - rather modestly - in front of the grandstand.
“A lot of people gave me encouragement, said, ’Yohan Blake, you can do it,’” Blake said. “I just wanted to keep performing and keep going.”
The win came two days after Blake, the reigning world 100 champion, beat Bolt in the 100 by running a 9.75.
That was a shocker, but there were explanations - most notably the terrible starts Bolt got off to throughout the 100 heats and in the final. Bolt has always considered the 200, which better suits his lanky 1.96-meter frame, his real work. And indeed, he’s got work to do there, as well.
As they approached the finish line, Bolt was grimacing - or was that the hint of a frustrated smile - as he looked to his left to see what hardly anyone could have imagined earlier this week: Blake beating him to the finish line for the second time in the span of three days.
“I can never be discouraged,” Bolt said. “I’m never worried until my coach gets worried, and my coach isn’t worried, so I’m OK.”
Said coach Glen Mills: “Usain, he has the experience, the ability, he has been there already. He might be a little off at the moment, but I’m sure when the time of delivery comes around, he’ll be on top of his game.”
In the women’s 200, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce ran a personal best 22.10 seconds to also complete the 100-200 sweep. She’ll be joined by Sherone Simpson and two-time defending Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown.
Fraser-Pryce took the world by surprise four years ago when she won the 100 at Beijing. Her next act could be this 200, where she beat Simpson with lots of room to spare, a 0.27-second margin.
“I’m still learning, you know,” Fraser-Pryce said.