Usain Bolt has made no secret of the lofty expectations he has for himself at the Summer Olympics this year. But when Carl Lewis thinks about the Jamaican speedster's prospects in London, doubt settles in.
The Olympic legend questions Bolt's chances at repeating his dominance in Beijing four years ago based on past trends of former sprinters.
"The reason it hasn't been done is because it's hard to stay at that level for a long period of time," Lewis told the IANS. "People are always trying to beat you when you are a champion."
Lewis ought to know. He claimed gold in both the 100 and 200 meters at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. But four years later, in Seoul, Lewis fell short of repeating that success, winning gold in the 100, but settling for silver in the 200, the only of his 10 Olympic medals not colored gold.
After similarly sweeping the gold in both the 100 and 200 at the 2008 Beijing Games, Bolt comes to London with expectations of running the 100 in an astonishing 9.4 seconds (Bolt has the world record at 9.58 seconds) and promises of declaring himself a "living legend."
However, Bolt already may be making Lewis look like a genius before even setting a spike on the London track.
It was earlier this month at the Jamaican Olympic Trials where a disappointing Bolt could win neither of his marquee events. Instead, he placed second in both the 100 and 200 to Yohan Blake, whose times of 9.75 seconds and 19.8, respectively, are world bests this year.
Blake is no stranger to beating Bolt on the big stage. Blake won gold in the 100 meters at the 2011 World Championships after Bolt was disqualified for a false start in the final.
"Blake has beaten Bolt two years in a row now after the World Championships in 2011 and we don't know what Bolt's head is like when he loses," Lewis said.
Bolt has a habit of running races without giving maximum effort. Call it part of his inflamed ego, if you want. Most notably, in Beijing he notably pulled up considerably early before the finish line for the 100 final and still set a world record. It's not clear if that was the case at the Jamaican trials, but you can't put it past him. But if that wasn't the case, then Bolt got the biggest wake-up call he could have asked for.
H/T Fourth-Place Medal
Photo: Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE