First, the good news for the nominal rivals of Usain Bolt. The superman of the track does have an Achilles heel after all. Having been untouchable in 26 consecutive racing events since July 2008, and a class far apart from the rest, the world was beginning to wonder. Now, the bad news for world athletics. The Jamaican's Achilles heel having been located and found to be damaged, the No 1 draw in track and field will be out of competitive commission just as the 2010 track season starts to get into swing.
"The Lightning Bolt" has been struck by a tendon problem that will keep him out of the New York Games on 12 June. Promoters of the other Diamond League meetings due to showcase the world and Olympic 100m and 200m champion and world record holder will be getting down on their prayer mats in the hope that the Munich sports doctor known as "Healing Hans" – Dr Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, whose client list has included Boris Becker, Cristiano Ronaldo and even Luciano Pavarotti – can help to repair the damage.
Bolt is due to run in Lausanne and Paris next month and has been expected to race in three head-to-heads with Tyson Gay, the American who took the 100m silver medal behind him at the world championships in Berlin last August. One confrontation, in Brussels in August, has already been confirmed. New York on Saturday week, and Crystal Palace in August had been mooted as likely venues for the other two.
"I developed a stiffness in my Achilles tendon last week and sought medical attention," Bolt said. "After careful consultation with Dr Hans Müller-Wohlfahrt at his clinic in Munich, I have been advised to take a two-to-three week break as a precautionary measure to avoid risking further damage."