| Usain Bolt after winning the 100m, in Moscow, on Sunday |
Moscow: Winning gold medals is second nature to Usain Bolt. But the sprint king, who usually packs a punch in any stadium in any city, was left pondering the “different feeling” he got from regaining his world 100-metre title on Sunday.
Bolt put his 2011 Daegu disappointment — when he was disqualified for false start in the final — firmly behind him when he produced his best race of what has been a less than stellar season for him.
The world’s fastest man took gold in 9.77 seconds, ahead of American Justin Gatlin, but admitted the blue Mondo track in Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium was unlike any other surface he had encountered in his period of sprint dominance. “It felt different, I don't know if it was bad different,” the Jamaican said.
“But it didn’t feel like a normal track that I’m used to running on. It was a little bit different. Personally I can’t complain about that really,” he said. The Sunday evening drizzle had cooled down the earlier muggy conditions. The track was made slick by a downpour that left beads of rain dropping off the eight finalists as they crouched in the blocks.
Bolt, aware that Gatlin, in the lane to his left, was the man to beat, remained unfazed. “For me, the rain is just the rain. We have run in rain before, We have run in colder weather. It didn’t really affect me in any way.”
As befitting a Bolt post-championship winning press conference, he faced the usual barrage of questions on his love for football, Manchester United and his stated desire to play professionally.
“I think they’ve asked all the running questions, they’ve run out of things to ask me so they just ask football questions,” he quipped.
But striking a sincere tone, Bolt continued: “I’m always going to choose running. The talent I’ve got, it was a God given talent and that’s what I use. I try to inspire people. I try to motivate everybody, let them know that anything is possible.”
With one gold secured, and with a repeat of his 2008 and 2012 triple Olympic gold haul firmly in his sights with the 200m and 4x100 relay to come, Bolt said he needed time to recover.
“I’m just going to look forward to running the 200 metres,” he said. “I can’t promise anything but I’ll always go and give it my best. Hopefully everything will come together. “My legs are sore right now, I’ll get some ice baths, get my masseuse to work on them, I should be ok...”
The Jamaican, by his own admission, was “race rusty” coming into the championships after being dogged by a hamstring injury in the early part of the season. He suffered a rare defeat to Gatlin in Rome in early June and said he felt no pressure in the Russian capital.
“It’s all about if you want to put yourself under pressure. For me, I don’t put myself under any pressure because I know what I want. I want the same thing everybody wants,” he said. “So I go out there and compete. After I win or lose I’m always going to be happy with myself because I went out there and gave it my best.”
These days, Bolt hardly takes a backseat. Plus, he’s in charge of rescuing a sport that’s been recently riddled with doping offences. Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Sherone Simpson all tested positive weeks before the competition.
Then, Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Kelly-Ann Baptiste withdrew from 100 because she’s involved in a doping case, her federation confirmed Monday. Another dark cloud hovering over track.
“Every time drugs are brought up, it’s hurtful to the sport. I hate it,” said former sprinter Maurice Greene, who has won five world titles.
“Track needs stars like Bolt. But he’s not the only person in this sport that’s a star. We have plenty of stars. But it’s good that he shows his personality. ”