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American legend Johnson admits to being 'shocked' by Bolt run

7 May 2008

By Gary Smith

He left the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica, Saturday night in total disarray, following his 9.76-seconds run at the Jamaica International Invitational. No one expected Usain Bolt, a half-lap specialist to run that fast this early, especially in an event he does not specialise in.

Nonetheless, after recovering from two false starts around him, Bolt went to run the second fastest time ever over the 100m – an achievement that also stunned American sprint legend Michael Johnson, the world record holder over 200m and 400m.

"Usain said he was shocked. I'm shocked too," said Johnson, the man who tips fellow American Tyson Gay to sprint to success in Beijing, at the Olympic Games later this summer.

"I never would have predicted he could run that fast over 100m," he added.

Before the Jamaica Invitational, Bolt’s previous best was 10.03-seconds and the raised eyebrows among those in the sport after his incredible run in the capital, was no huge surprise.

Bolt, who dominated at the junior level, established himself as a true world beater at the senior level when he blazed 19.93 for the 200m, while still running as a junior.

Many now believe the lanky sprinter is within a chance of winning a medal or even the gold should he take part in the event at the Olympics.

However, Johnson advised Bolt and those around him not to get too carried away with the performance.

Caribbean athletes now hold the top six positions for the 100m dash on the IAAF Toplist for 2008. Bolt’s 9.76, improved the previous year bests set by Trinidadian Ricardo Thompson and Netherlands Antilles’ Churandy Martina, who both ran 10.00.

They are also joined by world record holder Asafa Powell, who ran 10.04 earlier this year in Australia, before Bolt improved it to 10.03 and World silver medallist Derrick Atkins from the Bahamas who opened his season with a quick 10.07.1

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