Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Usain Bolt needs a rival

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt

When Usain Bolt is summoned to his blocks for the 100 metres at the upcoming World Championships, he will no doubt take a cursory glance to both his left and right.

Whether he will be in the least bit intimidated by what he sees is another matter entirely.

Helped in no small part by the failed drug tests of Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, as well as an injury to Johan Blake, Bolt's dominance is such that it's hard to imagine any sprinter derailing his quest to regain the world title he lost two years ago after a false start in Dageu.

Indeed the fastest man on earth currently finds himself with no one to play the Frazier to his Ali, the McEnroe to his Bjorg, perhaps most applicably, the Johnson to his Lewis.

While Ben Johnson would soon became synonymous with steroid controversy, the bristling rivalry between him and Carl Lewis in the build-up to Seoul '88 was credited with bringing the best out of Lewis after a pair of lacklustre years following his gold-laden feats at the Los Angeles Olympic Games.

Conversely, Bolt, lacking any form of track rival, has seemed decidedly out of sorts this year.

With no competition worthy of the name, it is possible that we have already seen the 26-year-old at his most electrifying.

If the Jamaican sprint king continues to be racing only against himself, we may never again get to see what the great man is truly capable of.

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