Jamaican sprinters Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt refuse to race head-to-head

The world's two fastest men won't face each other until next summer at the earliest, Simon Turnbull hears. And it's not all to do with money

As in Lausanne last Thursday, Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake will be chasing the trackside clock instead of each other when it comes to the penultimate meeting on the IAAF Diamond League circuit in Zurich this evening. The annual Weltklasse Meeting, first held in 1928, is often referred to as "the one-day Olympics" but there will be no repeat of the two head-to-head sprint clashes that gripped the attention at London 2012.

Bolt runs in the 200m and Blake in the 100m, as in Lausanne a week ago. In the Diamond League finale in Brussels a week tomorrow Bolt runs in the 100m and Blake the 200m. The Jamaican team-mates and training partners are done with their high-speed duelling for the year.

Last week Blake won the 100m in 9.69sec, a time that only Bolt has beaten. Bolt holds the world record at 9.58sec. Asked about the prospect of another head-to-head, Blake said: "I'd love to race against him but you'd have to talk big money."

As things stand, however, there is no race planned between the pair ahead of the World Championships in Moscow in August next year, although the chances are they will meet in the Jamaican Championships in Kingston in June or July, as they did in what doubled as the national Olympic trials earlier this summer. They raced in the 100m and 200m in the Jamaican capital, as they did at the Olympics in London, for free – with no appearance fees or prize-money involved.

Bolt and Blake could also be tempted by a big financial offer to meet outside of national or global championship competition in 2013 but Bolt's long-time manager, Ricky Simms, is not in favour of the kind of boxing-style, head-to-head sprint promotion that has been tried before – and generally flopped.

"Athletics is a different sport," Simms told The Independent. "It's not like boxing. You have to train all year to peak on a certain day and that's what these guys are aiming for. You can't peak on 15 May and 15 June and 15 July and 15 August. It doesn't work like that.

"The people who are always thinking there should be head-to-heads nine months of the year don't really understand athletics. The athletes have to use races to get into shape for the major championships. They will very rarely have big head-to-heads before the major championships.

"It makes the major championships even more valuable. That's why the Olympics is so special. If we do this every week it will devalue the big day." Even doing one-off spectaculars has not exactly paid off in the past. The big rematch between Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis in Lille in 1991, after the former's return following a doping suspension, turned into a non-event. Both men were beaten by Dennis Mitchell.

At least Linford Christie won his 100m showdown with Carl Lewis at Gateshead in 1993, but his rival hardly put up much of a fight, finishing a distant third behind the Briton and fellow American Jon Drummond. Organisers of the $1m 150m race between Michael Johnson and Donovan Bailey in Toronto in 1997 may have thought they had removed a potential spanner from the works by making it a straight head-to-head but only one man reached the finish line, Johnson pulling up injured after 110m.

"If Usain and Yohan meet outside the World Championships next year I think it's more likely to be on the circuit than in any kind of one-off spectacular," Simms said. "It's not a question of money. It's just a question of physically what the guys need to do to run 9.5sec or 19.3sec.

"The thing is they put so much energy into the Olympic Games. The times were exceptional in the 100 and the 200. I think Tyson Gay summed it up best. He said, 'These guys have to dig so deep to run those very fast times. If they did it every week there would be arms and legs falling off. They would be getting injured all the time.'

"The Olympics was the most important thing for them. There's no real motivation for them to race against each other now. Usain won two gold medals, three with the relay, so he's pretty happy with where he is."

The 26-year-old had to work hard this summer to get in shape to turn the tables on Blake in the 100m and 200m in London after losing to him at both distances in the Jamaican trials.

The head-to-head record between the two training partners now stands at 4-3 in Bolt's favour. They have raced each other seven times over the past three summers, which happens to be exactly as many times as the Great British middle-distance runners Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe clashed in an arm's-length rivalry that stretched to more than a decade.

Blake v Bolt: The story so far

8 July 2010

Lausanne Diamond League 100m: 1. Bolt 9.82, 2. Blake 9.96

16 July 2010

Paris D League 100m: 1. Bolt 9.84, 3. Blake 9.95

28 August 2011

World Champs Daegu 100m final: 1. Blake 9.92, Bolt DQ

29 June 2012

Jamaican Trials 100m: 1. Blake 9.75, 2. Bolt 9.86

1 July 2012

Jamaican Trials, Kingston. 100m: 1. Blake 9.75, 2. Bolt 9.86

5 August 2012

Olympics, London 100m final: 1. Bolt 9.63, 2. Blake 9.75

9 August 2012

Olympics, London 200m final: 1. Bolt 19.32, 2. Blake 19.44

Overall Bolt wins: 4; Blake wins: 3

Suggested Topics
News
Brand said he
people
Sport
Adam Lallana, Juan Cala, Andy Carroll and Cameron Jerome
sportThe latest news and scores
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
tvGrace Dent on TV
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Sport
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives in the rain during the qualifying session of the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai
sport
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
peopleOrlando Bloom the pin-up hero is making a fresh start
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Life & Style
The North Korean TV advert for Taedonggang beer, that became a YouTube hit
food + drinkAnd what did it take to set up a taste test back in Wiltshire?
Arts & Entertainment
filmLife for Leslie Mann's can be challenging sometimes
Voices
For music lovers: John Cusack with his vinyl collection in 'High Fidelity'
voices...but don't forget rest of the year
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit