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Olympic Games 2008: Asafa Powell says he was not ready for the big stage

18 August 2008

Asafa Powell (Sporting Eagle) Asafa Powell (Sporting Eagle)
By Gary Smith

Four years after fading to fifth place in the last Olympic Games 100 metres, Jamaica's former world record holder Asafa Powell admits he was just not ready for the big stage, which caused him to mess up big time Saturday night.

After failing in the last couple of years to land a major global title on the big stage, Powell promised that this year would be the year of delivery.

But after looking well set to win a medal in men's 100m event at the Beijing Olympics, the Jamaican choked once again and was left disappointed Saturday night.

"I wasn't ready for the big stage yet," a disappointed Powell told reporters after failing to make his mark in Beijing.

"I'm not sure what happened. I messed up big time, my legs died on me."

An Olympics 100m showdown that was billed as "three the hard way" between Powell, American Tyson Gay and record holder Usain Bolt finished with the latter running unchallenged all the way to the line in a superlative 9.69 seconds world record performance.

Despite finishing off the medal contention, Powell took the time to extend his congratulations to a teammate, and a man he described as his very good friend.

"I really wanted to get that gold medal," Powell said, "but I'm happy for Usain.

"He was definitely untouchable tonight, he was spectacular and I'm very happy for him," Powell added

Bolt, just 21, became the youngest Olympic 100m champion since American Bob Hayes in 1964. He also moved a step closer to join the small group of elite athletes who have completed the Olympic Games sprint double.

Notably, Bolt's 0.20 seconds victory margin was the largest in an Olympics final since Carl Lewis ran 9.99 to beat Sam Graddy (10.19) in Los Angeles 24 years ago.

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