Bolt stunned by ‘The Beast’ in 100m final

2012-06-30 07:45

Kingston – “The Beast” turned out to be quite an animal.

Not even Usain Bolt can argue with that. The Fastest Man in the World wasn’t the fastest man in Jamaica last night.

Instead, that honour was snatched by Yohan Blake, the man they call “The Beast,” who blew Bolt away out of the starting blocks and finished the 100-metre final in 9.75 seconds to upset the world-record holder by 0.11 seconds in the Jamaican Olympic trials.

A shocker? Well, that’s for the world to decide. One thing for sure, however, is that the calculus for the London Olympics has changed dramatically.

“Nine-point-seven-five, it’s awesome,” Blake said. “I won the world championship, so I’ve got that. Now, I’m the national champion for Jamaica, so I’ve got that. And now, I go into the Olympics like this.”

Blake is, indeed, the reigning world champion, but that victory came with an asterisk because Bolt, the reigning Olympic champion, didn’t run that night in South Korea after being disqualified for a false start.

This was their first rematch, their first real race since then between the training partners.

Bolt was considered the favourite, not only because of his world record – 9.58 seconds – but because Blake had never run faster than 9.82 in his life.

Well, now, he has. The 9.75 seconds on a calm night in Kingston goes down as the best time in the world this year and also breaks the four-year-old National Stadium record.

Both previous marks were 9.76, both held by Bolt. Only Bolt, Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay have ever run faster.

As much as the numbers, though, it was all that daylight between Blake and Bolt at the finish line that told this story.

Blake got ahead early and, for a while, looked to have more of a tussle on his hands with Powell, who finished third, than with Bolt.

As he always does, Bolt rallied at the end, leaning at the line to make sure he held onto second.

Ahead of him, it was Blake spreading his hands out to his sides and letting out a primal scream. Bolt just pulled up.

No pretending to shoot a bolt of lightning into the sky – the now-famous “To the World” pose – or anything else to celebrate on this night.

Later, Bolt offered Blake congratulations, shaking his hand and using the other to amiably palm the head of an opponent eight inches shorter than him.

While all that – the daylight at the finish, congratulating someone else when it was over – was a downer for Bolt, the scene at the start was even worse.

Always the toughest part of the race for the tall defending Olympic champion, Bolt lumbered out of the blocks this time and had to churn those long legs to make up big ground simply to get in the mix.

He couldn’t, if only because there are only three spots available in the 100 and Powell – the man who held the world record before Bolt broke it for the first time in 2008 – is a factor in every race he runs.

He finished in 9.88, 0.02 behind Bolt and 0.06 faster than Michael Frater, who will be a part of the Jamaican 400 relay team, which also is trying to defend its Olympic title.

Bolt earned his spot on the Jamaican team and knows there are four more weeks to go before the trip to London.

That’s plenty of time to get in shape: the man who coaches them both, Glen Mills, said Blake came into this race in far better shape than Bolt.

“But we’re right where we want to be, going into London,” Mills said. “We just want to keep them healthy. That’s the key.”

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