Usain Bolt eyes opening year next month in Jamaica race

Usain Bolt eyes opening year next month in Jamaica race

SALVO, North Carolina - Reuters
Usain Bolt eyes opening year next month in Jamaica race

Sprint superstar Usain Bolt, who holds three Olympic gold medals to his name, plays down any rivalry with fellow Jamaican Blake. REUTERS photo

The world will not need to wait long to get a glimpse at triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt’s fitness for his highly anticipated 2012 season.

Healthy and on a new nutrition program, Bolt plans to launch his run-up to defending his 100 and 200m titles at the 2012 London Games with tune-up races in Jamaica next month, the world’s fastest man told Reuters.

“I always run quarters (400s)before the season and I will be starting in February,” Bolt said in a telephone interview. “I think I will run at least two this season.”

Some relay races will also likely be on the early program as Bolt returns to a more traditional warm up for high-powered sprint races later in the season.

An injury slowed the launch of Bolt’s 2011 season until May, but previously he had always made test runs in late January or February to break up training.

“Last year was hard,” Bolt said. “I started the season off a little bit injured. I had to change a lot of things.”

But aside from a false start that cost him a chance to defend his 100 metres world title, the world record holder said he was pleased with the way his year ended.

“A lot of people may talk, but they don’t know what I went through,” said the International Association of Athletics Federations male athlete of the year. “I came back at the world championships and I won a medal, I ran a fast time and I was unbeaten,” said the lanky Jamaican who successfully defended his world 200 metres crown and anchored Jamaica to a world record in the 4x100 relay.

‘One of the best’

“So for me, last season was probably one of my best seasons that I have ever had taking into consideration the work that I could put in (and what) I had to go through.”

When he will run his first sprint test of 2011 or meet up with training partner and 100 metres world champion Yohan Blake has not been determined, Bolt said. “Definitely I will open in Jamaica,” he said. “Otherwise I am not sure what I will be doing next season.”

Any race against Blake, the hot new sprinter who not only claimed the 100m world title but ran the second fastest 200m of all-time last season, would be a spectator’s delight.

But Bolt, at least publicly, tried not to attach special significance to any potential meeting. “For me, it is all the same thing with everybody,” said Bolt. “It is not going to change anything for me. For me, it is a job. So if I have got to go out there and race against Yohan, it is OK.”

Bolt was on view for American football fans he helps launch a marketing campaign for sponsor Gatorade called “Win From Within.”

The commercial aired during the Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl games on Jan. 2, also featured basketball’s Dwyane Wade, tennis’ Serena Williams, swimmer Ryan Lochte and footballer Abby Wambach.