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Bolt says 'ready to go' at Olympics

Jamaican track star Usain Bolt acknowledged he has had a rocky build-up to the London Olympics, but declared himself "ready to go" in his bid to defend his double sprint titles.

india Updated: Jul 27, 2012 10:35 IST
news,hindustan times,Usain Bolt

Jamaican track star Usain Bolt acknowledged he has had a rocky build-up to the London Olympics, but declared himself "ready to go" in his bid to defend his double sprint titles.

"I'm always ready," said Bolt yesterday. "It's all about championships. I've had slight problems, but I'm ready to go."

Fitness concerns, an early morning car crash and losing over both the 100 and 200m to training partner and compatriot Yohan Blake in the Jamaican Olympic trials raised serious doubts about Bolt's ability to defend his titles.

But Bolt, speaking at his first pre-Olympic press conference alongside fellow sprinter Asafa Powell, said: "I'm going to focus on going out there to win.

"My back was a little stiff and it affected my hamstring but I'm over that. I've been training for the past two-and-a-half weeks and everything is alright."

The 25-year-old added: "I don't think it will be the end of the world if I lose.

"I would definitely be disappointed if I was second. Mentally though I am always strong. I have a great team around me who keep me on track."

Bolt refused to pick out any one sprinter as his main rival, saying: "Who is the danger man?! Not one specific one but the seven men in the blocks.

"There is one great moment, there is never one single person."

He also played down rumours of an increasingly bitter rivalry between him and fast-rising training partner Blake, both coached by Glen Mills.

"People were saying I was training early in the morning and Blake in the evening, but that's not true," Bolt said.

"We do everything or nearly everything (together). Training hasn't changed, only the atmosphere at competition."

Bolt received an extra boost when Jamaica Olympic Association president Mike Fennell named him as the country's flag bearer for Friday's opening ceremony.

"It's an honour to carry the flag for my country. I would do anything for my country," said Bolt.

"It's great being the flag bearer as you are the centre of attention and on TV!"

Bolt, one of global sport's most marketable personalities, transformed the world of athletics when he scorched to victory in both sprint events at the Beijing Games in 2008 in then-world record times.

He then bettered his Olympic form at the 2009 Berlin worlds, setting current world records in the 100 and 200m of 9.58 and 19.19sec.

Bolt defended his world 200m title in Daegu last year but a false start in the final saw compatriot Yohan Blake claim victory in the 100m.

Bolt was also part of the 4x100m relay team that won gold in Beijing and Berlin, and then went on to set a new world record of 37.04sec in Daegu.

"My ultimate aim is to be a legend - everyone knows it," he said. "I've learned not to worry about the start. Back in the day was never a good start. I am just focused on the race.

"I will definitely carry on if I achieve my goals here. I will just set myself new ones. It will definitely be less stressful for me, more relaxed."

First Published: Jul 27, 2012 10:33 IST