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Bolt braced for 2009 Powell and Gay challenge

12 September 2008

Triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt believes sprint rivals Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay will come out firing in 2009, determined to mount a supercharged response to his record-breaking exploits.

Bolt picked up three golds at Beijing as well as setting three world records.

In stark contrast, Powell, the former 100m world record holder was a poor fifth in the Olympic final while American Gay, the world champion, missed the final after seeing his preparations hit by a hamstring injury.

"It's going to be a major thing with me and Asafa," Bolt told www.laureus.com.

"Also Tyson. He was injured so he's coming back even better next season. It's all about business because it's our job and we go out there to be champions, so I'm definitely looking forward to next season.

"It's going to be bigger next year because I think he'll be in better shape early in the season to do great things, so I'm definitely looking forward to that."

The trio are set to dominate sprinting next year with the highlight of their rivalry being the world championships in Berlin.

Bolt also insists that he and Powell are close despite many in the sport believing the Jamaican duo enjoy a frosty relationship.

"We're friends," said Bolt. "We are known to mess around, we laugh, and stuff like that. But when we're on the track it's all about competition. But off the track we're good friends, we're good buds, we talk."

The Olympic champion believes that he has even learnt from Powell.

"I've seen him run. It motivates you to either try to do better or to try to do great stuff. So, definitely, when I came into this, he definitely motivated me."

Bolt started the year regarded as a 200m specialist, but the 22-year-old stunned track and field by claiming the 100m world record, previously held by Powell, in a new time of 9.72sec in New York in May.

He lowered it even further at the Olympics with 9.69sec.

"I think I came in the right year. It's harder for a lot of athletes not to win or not to make it to the Olympics because it's a long wait to get back to the Olympics again," he said.

Bolt also explained the thinking behind his extravagant gestures on the track which have delighted fans, but have tended to infuriate officials.

"My body (language) is just a gesture to the world. It's a thing we do in Jamaica. It's actually a dance, but I just took it and turned it into my move.

"After the 100m I did a dance called The Sweep and after the 200m I did one called The Gutty Cooper."
And the famous pointing gesture to the heavens before each race?

"That's just messing around. That's just trying to get the crowd into the action because they love it when I do that. So I just try to let them laugh and feel happy."

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