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Ato tips Bolt to clean up sprints in Beijing

28 July 2008

Trinidad and Tobago's four-time Olympic Games medal winner Ato Boldon tips Jamaican sprint sensation Usain Bolt to clean up the sprints at the Beijing Games next month.

Boldon, a world renowned retired sprinter, who is now a track and field television broadcast analyst for CBS and NBC Sports, said he is confident Bolt will win the sprint double -- should he line up in both events -- in addition to the gold he picks Jamaica to win in the men's sprint relay.

"I would go on record now and pick Bolt for three gold in Beijing (100m, 200m 4x100m) because I have thought so for some time," Boldon said in his regular column for Greek website HellenicAthletes.

While Boldon believes a fit Tyson Gay and the rocket starting Asafa Powell will post some problems for Bolt in the 100 metres, the Trinidadian has no doubt the 100-metre world record holder will run untested in the 200 metres.

"With no Tyson in sight, I don't think this race is going to even be that close in Beijing," the former world 200 metres champion said.

"Bolt has run 9.72 and 9.76 for 100m this year, and 19.67 and 19.76.

"No one else is even really close to his 200 – Walter Dix the US champion is next with 19.86 – and he did it with a 1.7 wind aiding him at the USA Trials.

"Bolt's top two 200 times in his life, both done this year, are into slight headwinds! Scary," Boldon added.

Dix came back from injuries to defend his 200-metre NCAA title and then upstaged his seniors at the American championships to prove that he too can run with the big boys.

However, while admitting to the talent Dix has to trouble Bolt in the half lap, Boldon pointed out that running the double might lessen the American chances in the long run.

"I think Dix is good enough of a competitor to be a concern to Bolt (not to mention his 19.69 PR), except that he is also doubling back from the 100-metre rounds in Beijing," the Trinidadian said.

Donald Quarrie, the Olympic champion over 200 metres at the 1976 Montreal Games, is Jamaica's only Olympic male 200-metre champion, but Boldon is optimistic about number two and keeping his fingers crossed for "numero uno" in the 100m.

"For now, it appears sure that Jamaica gets gold two at 200m," he continued "the bigger question is - will they get Olympic 100-metre gold?

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