London 2012: Usain Bolt's Injury Hampers His Duel Against Yohan Blake

Jacob Freedman@JFree727Correspondent IJuly 5, 2012

DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Usain Bolt of Jamaica poses with his gold medal during the medal ceremony for the men's 200 metres final during day nine of 13th IAAF World Athletics Championships at Daegu Stadium on September 4, 2011 in Daegu, South Korea.  (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)
Mark Dadswell/Getty Images

Do you remember this gold-medal winning dash from Usain Bolt in 2008?

Where he changed form and slowed down towards the finish yet still broke the world record? After that defining moment in the Beijing Summer Olympics, Bolt has set the bar high for his Olympic return in London.

He ran the 100-meter dash in 9.79 seconds at a meet in June, re-affirming his expected contention in London after being disqualified at the 2011 world championships for false-starting,

Unfortunately, his recent withdrawal from the Monaco Diamond League meet in what was supposed to be his final tune-up for London is just another sign that emerging fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake might be preparing to steal Bolt’s title as “Fastest Man in the World” soon.

Bolt’s coach Glen Mills called the undisclosed injury just a “slight problem” and believes Bolt will be at full strength for the Olympics. Any alterations in form could be costly though, and if Bolt’s injury affects him even in the slightest that could mean the difference between more gold medals or a failed encore.

Bolt is not the only one hoping to be at full speed when the men’s 100-meter kicks off in early August. Bolt thrilled the world with his performance in Beijing, but Blake’s infusion into the sprinting scene could take the hype to a new level in London with a two-man showdown in sports’ most exciting nine-plus seconds.

Do not forget the American Tyson Gay either, who held the record before Bolt and is unlikely to go home without a medal in the 100.

Bolt’s slight downturn would not be as noticeable if it was not for the 22-year old Blake, whose nickname is “The Beast.” Not only did Blake run the fourth-fastest 100-meter time in history with a 9.75 second posting to defeat Bolt in the Jamaican Olympic trials, he also defeated Bolt by .03 seconds in the 200-meter dash, Bolt’s signature event.

Bolt was on the fence about running the 100 back in Beijing, so his defeat in the 200 has to be much more concerning than his 100 performance.

It remains to be seen if lightning strikes twice with Bolt losing to his countryman and training partner, but in a situation similar to Michael Phelps, it looks one of the superstars from four years will be less dominant and given a run for his money in London.