Bolt caught cold by coach's pledge to chase sprint double

Usain Bolt's Olympic preparations skipped a beat here yesterday as it emerged that, bizarrely, he and his coach, Glen Mills, had got their wires crossed over whether he will double in the Olympic 100 and 200 metres.

Mills confirmed on Saturday that Bolt, who set a world 100m record of 9.72sec in May, would seek to win both events in Beijing, but that appeared to be news to the athlete himself when he was told about it at a downtown press conference.

"Did he?" Bolt said, looking genuinely confused. "That's the first time I'm hearing that. I didn't know that.

"I guess I'm definitely doing the 100 metres as well, then," he added. "I thought it was 80 per cent certain I'd be doubling. Now I guess it's 100 per cent."

In the wake of his startling 100m performance in New York on 31 May, Bolt insisted that he would accept Mills's judgement on whether to restrict his ambitions to the long-term aim of winning the Olympic 200m title, adding : 'This is my fourth year with my coach and he's made nothing but good decisions."

Yesterday, however, that accord appeared to have been disturbed as the normally laid-back athlete turned decidedly tetchy. "This is the first time there's been a miscommunication between us," Bolt said. "I hope it doesn't happen again. If he said it then he hasn't exactly communicated it to me."

Bolt's last competitive performance, when he obliterated a world-class field over 200m at the London grand prix last month to clock a time of 19.76sec despite easing down, served to underline his formidable potential at these Games.

However, his 100m defeat in Stockholm earlier in that week at the hands of fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell, his predecessor as world-record holder, made it clear that he will not be able to dominate the shorter sprint in similar fashion, and he certainly needs all to be calm and relaxed behind the scenes if he is to become the first athlete to win 100m and 200m gold medals at a single Games since Carl Lewis in 1984.

Powell, who has yet to win the global title his talents merit, is clearly a serious rival to the 21-year-old from Trelawny, as is the world 100m and 200m champion, Tyson Gay.

The 25-year-old American strained a hamstring at the US trials last month in failing to qualify for the 200m, but he maintained in a statement that he would be fully fit for his 100m challenge, adding: "When I step on the line in Beijing, don't worry, I'll be ready to go."

Gay, who turns 26 on Saturday, opted out of the US track team's training camp in Dalian in favour of completing his preparations in Munich, but he arrived here yesterday and plans to attend Friday's opening ceremony.

American 200m runner Wallace Spearmon believes Bolt, Powell and Gay could all run under 9.70sec. "I honestly think Bolt can run 9.6 seconds, Asafa can run 9.6 and a healthy Tyson can run 9.6," he said. "Four athletes ran faster than 9.90 seconds in 2004 but that might be like sixth place here."

Meanwhile Simeon Williamson (pictured, left), Britain's fastest sprinter at the moment, save for the absent figure of Dwain Chambers, is setting his sights on winning a 100m medal. "It feels very, very good to be here," said the 22-year-old Londoner, who finished second to Chambers in the Olympic trials in a personal best of 10.03sec. "It's been a long process to get here and now I'm finally here. I want to come away with a medal. Whether I can do that is a different story, but deep in my heart, I want to come away with a medal. If I come away without one I'll be disappointed."

Williamson's 100m team-mate Craig Pickering added that the British sprint relay team – which won gold in Athens four years ago through Jason Gardener, Darren Campbell, Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis – would be "in the mix", adding: "There's a medal there for us if everything goes well."

Pickering's ambitions in the individual event were more conservative. "I try to be realistic," he said. "There are a lot of people running faster than me at the moment. If I can make the semi-finals that will put me in the top 16 in the world and that will be a good step forward."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Buddy DeFranco
people
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015