Track and Field

Yohan Blake: Jamaican Sprinter Will Be Second-Best Until Usain Bolt Retires

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 07:  Yohan Blake of Jamaica reacts after competing in the Men's 200m Round 1 Heats on Day 11 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 7, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIAugust 8, 2012

Yohan Blake beat Usain Bolt at the Olympic trials, but once the 2012 London games started, the newcomer learned that he would have to wait his turn for a gold medal.

Blake ran the 100 meters in 9.75 seconds to beat the reigning gold-medal winner in Jamaica, but when it counted, Bolt finished the event in an incredible 9.63 seconds.

This was the first step for Bolt towards winning both the 100 meters and the 200 meters at two consecutive Olympics. As Richard Thompson, who raced against both Bolt and Blake in the 100 meters said, “After seeing him today in the 100, he’s definitely going to do something nasty in the 200 as well,” via Andrew Das of the New York Times.

Bolt, 25, is uniquely tall for a sprinter, and this gives him a definitive advantage in the sprints. As noted by The Guardian, he took just 41 steps to travel 100 meters in Olympic-record time, while Blake needed 46 strides.

Bolt’s non-traditional 6’5” frame is one of the keys to his remarkable success. He has the power of a world-class sprinter and his length makes him extraordinary. 

Blake, on the other hand, is certainly talented, but is built like every other sprinter. At 5’11” and 172 pounds, he is an average height and stocky.

The 22-year-old stays low off the blocks, whereas Bolt can often rise too quickly. But regardless of form or any other factor, every other sprinter in the world has ground to make up against Bolt before the race even starts.

Simply put—Bolt is a phenomenon. He has shattered preconceived notions of what a sprinter should be able to do, and continues to dazzle on the Olympic stage. Whatever he has in store for the 200 meter finals should be truly spectacular. 

Blake is extremely talented and has a bright future, but he will not win a gold medal until he competes in a field that does not include his accomplished compatriot.

Blake will be an excellent sprinter for many years, but Bolt is a superstar without an equal. 

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