Phelps, Bolt and an unfortunate IOC President

The major threat to Powell’s dominance of the 100m event has been the Americans. It was perhaps always a worrying fact to many that while Powell was able to produce fantastic times and world record runs he has not yet been able to win a major title. He has lost at both the World Championships in Athletics and the Olympic Games.

This time around Powell faced, for the very first time, a threat from his own native Jamaica in the form of Usain Bolt, a phenom that emerged on the scene in 2001 at the age of 14 going on 15.

Before his 16th birthday in 2002 Bolt won the World Junior Championships 100m in fine style in Jamaica.

In 2004, before his 18th birthday Bolt slammed the field at the Carifta Games in Hamilton, Bermuda, in the remarkable world junior record time of 19.93 seconds. The world stood in recognition of the young athlete and recognised then that he was something very special, possessive of taking the sport to new heights.

Injury, distractions, coaching issues and a certain amount of laziness saw Bolt falter away in the sport for a while between the Bermuda achievement of 2004 and 2007. 

At the World Championships in Osaka, Japan, in 2007, Bolt was back. He was beaten into second place by the in-form Tyson Gay who did the double having defeated Asafa Powell in the 100m before.

Early in 2008 Bolt showed that he had finally arrived back to his best and no one would be able to stop him. He established a new world record of 9.72 in New York and the world was forced to take note that at the Beijing Olympics he would be the man of the moment on the track. Discussions began on whether or not he would do the double at the Games since the 200m is considered his specialty and if he could attain 9.72 in the 100m the 200m victory would be easy.