Usain Bolt may not have broken his world 100 metres record last night but he showed in the Paris rain he is in mint condition.
Bolt insisted before the Golden League meeting that he felt if the weather was favourable he could attack the time of 9.69 seconds which won him the Olympic gold medal in Beijing last August.
However, on what was already a cold night in the Stade de France just prior to the race the rain began to fall, although not placing a dampener on what was still a fast encounter.
Bolt, second last out of his blocks and not moving into his stride until 40 metres, stepped up a gear and went on to post his fastest time of the season of 9.79sec. But for his poor start the 22-year-old Jamaican would almost certainly have bettered the world leading time of 9.77sec which arch-rival Tyson Gay posted at last Friday's Golden League meeting in Rome.
Nevertheless the time obliterated the meeting record fellow Jamaican and his predecessor as world record holder Asafa Powell set three years ago. It also clearly indicates his preparations for next month's World Championships in Berlin, where Gay will defend his title, are well on target.
"I'm happy it was a good race, I know people love me, so I try every time to be at my best," said Bolt who did some now traditional showboating before the race started. "In these conditions the time is great. But it was hard to put everything in place from start to finish."
Bolt said of his poor start: "My reaction is poor, this is something I have to work on in the next weeks before Berlin. But it's life, things don't ever happen the way you want."
He insisted: "I had a good feeling on the track – I thought I was flying."
Bolt's powerful surge in the second half of the sprint saw runner-up Daniel Bailey lower his Antiguan record to 9.91sec while third placed Yohan Blake the winner's team-mate, cut his fastest ever time by a teenager to 9.93sec.
Simeon Williamson's prophecy that he would be unlikely to become the first Briton to run sub-10sec for 10 years proved correct. Williamson never got into his stride, finishing sixth in 10.14sec.
The British Olympic triple jump silver medallist Phillips Idowu produced a fourth-round winning effort of 17.17 metres just as the rain started to descend.
It may not have been one of Idowu's biggest jumps but it was far enough to thwart the ambitions of the Cuban trio of Yoandris Betanzos, Alexis Copello and David Giralt, who all head him in this year's world rankings.
"I'm happy, this is my first victory in this stadium," said Idowu, confident he can challenge strongly for the world title. "Today winning was the most important thing."Reuse content