Usain Bolt enters the 2012 London Games with as many, or more, expectations than any single athlete, which is going to make his failure to win an individual gold all the more painful.
Bolt, who once seemed unbeatable, now is anything but. While it is not at all unusual for Olympic greats to struggle a bit while they await the games, the signs of worry are mounting for Bolt.
Bolt came in second the Jamaican Trials in both of his events: the 100- and 200-meter dash.
Yohan Blake beat Bolt in both. He edged out the win in the 200 as his time of 19.83 seconds was .03 ahead of Bolt. His win in the 100 was more convincing as he bested Bolt by .12 while posting a 9.74.
If this were just about the results, it wouldn't be terribly alarming. Bolt could reasonably be expected to make that up simply because his training is pointed towards peaking at the Olympics. However, his times are an even greater cause for concern.
Bolt holds the world record in both these events at 19.19 for the 200 and 9.58 in the 100. He wasn't anywhere near those times, and he will not be able to regain that form by the Olympics.
Further complicating matters is the fact that Bolt is struggling with his health. Bolt had to withdraw from the recent grand prix in Monaco due to tightness in his hamstrings.
While this was likely just precautionary, it is keeping him from running, and that is not going to help him get back to his untouchable level.
Bolt will now enter the Olympics off a string of disappointments. He has been dominated by his countryman. Everyone else in the sprints feels he is vulnerable, and he is not going to have the extra gear to keep them at bay.
Bolt will still have an excellent chance at taking home gold in the relays, but he can forget about any individual glory.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!