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Fastest man on planet eyes Olympic gold

3 June 2008

By Larry Fine

Usain Bolt established himself as the fastest man on the planet on Saturday by setting a world record in the 100 meters. Now the 21-year-old Jamaican has his eyes on a bigger prize -- Olympic gold in athletics' blue ribband event.

"I'm definitely going to run the 100 in the Olympics," Bolt told Reuters after his electrifying time of 9.72 seconds at the Reebok grand prix broke the mark of 9.74 set last September by his compatriot Asafa Powell.

The 21-year-old Bolt has emerged this season as an extraordinary 100m man after making his mark in the 200, an event that brought him silver at last year's world championships in Osaka.

Before the Reebok meeting, Bolt and his coach both said he was committed to running the 200 in Beijing but were unsure about the 100.

That all changed with Bolt's performance at Icahn Stadium on Saturday.

"I'll be doubling now, definitely," he said in an interview amid the lights of Times Square a few hours after his triumph. "I've just got to concentrate now and work on my 200 some more, because I haven't been doing a lot of 200 work."

Bolt said he was "pretty happy" with himself for setting the world record, but considered Olympic gold the big prize.

"I don't think there's any comparison between the two. You've got to be Olympic champion or world champion to really count.

"Tomorrow if someone comes and runs faster than me I'm no longer the fastest man in the world," he said. "If you're the Olympic champion then they have to wait four more years to get you again.

"I think the Olympics is the biggest thing, so I'm looking for that, definitely."

Coach Glen Mills challenged Bolt to work on the 100 during the early part of this season to improve his speed.

Mission accomplished.

Bolt charged to a 9.76 -- the second fastest time recorded -- in just his third competitive race at the distance. On Saturday, the 1.96m tall Jamaican exploded out of the blocks in sizzling fashion for a man of his size.

"It went pretty well," the soft-spoken Bolt said.

"I got out well. I've been working on my start for a while. I think I did good work today on my start. I'm just happy with myself."

Bolt hit the heights by bursting past world champion Tyson Gay and pulling away.

"Me and Tyson, we are horrible starters," he said. "I've been working on it a lot. I was really surprised I did so well out of the blocks but I'm just proud of myself."

Bolt said he would now turn his attention to the 200 and was looking forward to his first race this year over the distance at the Golden Spike of Ostrava meet in Czech Republic on June 12.

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