Bolt back in relay, chases 3rd gold at worlds in Beijing
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 29, 2015 09:24 AM
Men's 200m gold medalist Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates on the podium at the World Athletics Championships at the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing, Friday, Aug. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
AP Sports Writer
BEIJING (AP) — Usain Bolt handed his shoes to a volunteer after the 200 meters and the person took off with them.
Not so fast. He still needs those bright yellow and blue spikes.
There's one race left for the Jamaican — the 400 relay. A win there Saturday and he'll walk out of the Bird's Nest 3 for 3, just like he did seven years ago at the Beijing Olympics.
He hasn't set any world records this time around — not yet, anyway — but this performance has been impressive in different ways. He's shook off the rust from not racing much because of injuries and has gotten stronger each time he's taken the track.
Bolt barely beat Justin Gatlin in the 100 final, then looked his more dominant self in the 200, with Gatlin finishing a distant second.
Just get Bolt the baton in the 400 relay with a lead — or even a little behind — and he promises to deliver.
"As long as next three people show up and are ready to go, I'm going to do my part, as always," Bolt said.
The Jamaicans hold the world record of 36.84 seconds, set at the London Olympics, with a group that included Bolt and 2011 100 champion Yohan Blake.
Bolt and former world-record holder Asafa Powell are in this year's group, though the rest of the runners in the Jamaican relay pool — including Nickel Ashmeade — don't have the big-time resume of their teammates.
It's why Gatlin thinks the Americans can give the Jamaicans a run for their title.
"They've been saying that since 2008," Powell said with a snicker. "I've yet to see that happen. I'm not worried about that. Just trying to get our team together. Talking won't help right now, just get the stick around."
That has historically been an issue for the Americans at major meets. The team had a relay camp in Monaco in mid-July and a training camp earlier this month in Japan, just to get on the same page. Tori Bowie, the bronze medal winner in the 100, didn't attend and was left off the women's relay squad.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will lead the Jamaican women's team.
In addition to the preliminary and final of the 4100 relay, the preliminary heats in the 1,600 relay also run Saturday.
Shortly after winning the 200, after which Bolt was upended by a cameraman riding a runaway two-wheel vehicle, he was asked if he still planned to run the 400 relay. He rolled his eyes and walked away in disgust.
Of course, he is. That's why he needed his shoes back. Maybe later they'll be a souvenir.
Here are some things to know about Day 8 of the world championships:
British standout Mo Farah goes for his third straight world title in the 5,000. The Kenyans and Ethiopians have formidable runners who can keep up with Farah, especially if he shows any sign of fatigue from winning the 10,000 on opening night.
Defending champion Ashton Eaton amassed a 173-point lead over Damian Warner of Canada after the opening five events of the decathlon. Along the way Friday, the American had a world-record time for a decathlon 400 (45.00 seconds) and the top time ever at a world meet in the 100 (10.23).
Jesus Angel Garcia of Spain is still chasing medals in the 50-kilometer race two decades after winning gold at the worlds in 1993. Now 45, he's at his 12th world championships.
Blanka Vlasic of Croatia is leaping well again after left heel surgery in 2012. The 2008 Beijing Olympic silver medalist has one of the top marks in the high jump this season. Anna Chicherova of Russia cleared 2.03 meters (6 feet, 8 inches) at a recent meet and will be the favorite.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Still recovering from a knee injury, German discus thrower Robert Harting won't compete at the worlds. That's significant because he's won the last three world titles. His younger brother, Christoph, is on the team and could keep the title in the family.