KINGSTON, Jamaica (AFP) –
Usain Bolt has the speed to lower his 100-meter world record below 9.5 seconds, the coach of the reigning Olympic 100 champion said on Thursday, but weather could foil his efforts at London.
Glen Mills, who has coached Bolt since 2004, said Thursday in a conference call with the IAAF after conducting a workout that Bolt could reach 9.49 or lower and shatter his current world record of 9.58.
“I don’t think it is impossible,” Mills said. “But he would have to have the right conditions. I’m not sure if London (weather) is going to be kind.”
Mills said that he expects Bolt will be 100 percent healthy when he runs his first 100 of the season on May 5 at the Jamaica Invitational, the same meet where world 100m champion Yohan Blake is set to run in the 200.
“Usain is in good condition, doing well,” Mills said. “He is ready to run next week. I expect him to do well. He’s in good shape. I’m expecting him to run a good race.”
Denying tales that Bolt hurt himself in a charity football match, Mills said his star pupil has learned from the false start in the final at last year’s world championships in South Korea, one that cost him his world title.
“The lesson he has learned from Daegu is you can never be too complacent or never take anything for granted,” Mills said. “You have to focus and concentrate on the task at hand.
“He is quite aware of that going into the Olympics and of not being a victim of a false start.”
Bolt won 100 and 200 Olympic gold at Beijing in 2008 and helped Jamaica to a 4×100 relay title, all in world-record time. At the 2009 worlds in Berlin, Bolt lowered his world records to 9.58 and 19.19 at 200.
Mills, 62, said he sees no problem with Bolt having to potentially race at London against athletes who have served doping bans such as Britain’s Dwain Chambers and American Justin Gatlin.
“I don’t believe somebody should be banned for life,” Mills said. “You should be given a chance to redeem yourself.
“One would hope the persons who have found themselves in trouble with that would have learned their lessons and operate under the fairness of competition and stay away from drugs.
“The rules are that if you commit an offence you are punished and after you serve your time you are reinstated. We have to compete under the rules. I don’t really have a problem… Even people who commit murder are given pardons.”
Bolt has spoken often about securing his status as a living legend, but Mills said that catchphrase is Bolt’s way of focusing on his main goals, defending three Olympic titles.
“He has set that ‘Living Legend’ theme as a motivation to maintain his high standard of training and level of performance,” Mills said. “He has set his criteria of defending his gold medals in London as his objective.
“That is his ultimate goal.”
Failing to crack a world record in London will not be a failure if Bolt brings home three gold medals, Mills said.
“The world records are what you call a bonus,” Mills said. “The objective is the title. If you break the world record in the process, great. But the goal is to get to the line and win the race, not to break the record.”
That includes a strict race warm-up regimen to counter back issues that nag Bolt even on the best of race days.
“The problem is not going to go away. It’s a lifetime thing,” Mills said. “He takes several warm-up preparations before he runs. We stick with several things that have worked over the years.”
Mills said Bolt had looked at the 4×400 relay for the London Games but his desire to defend Olympic gold and the programme makes such a bid impossible.
While Blake will compete mainly in North America during his run-up to the Olympics, Bolt will focus on Europe with appearances at Diamond League races in Ostraca on May 25, Rome on May 31, Oslo on June 7 and Monaco on July 20 in his final pre-Olympic meet.
“Usain is an experienced campaigner in Europe. He has been doing it for the past six years. He can cope with different climates and etcetera,” Mills said.
“When he came back last year, Yohan had some problems in his competitions leading into the trials. He was not in top condition and had some injuries. We thought in this Olympic year we would not make him travel too far.”
Bolt has not dropped his training discipline despite the fame that has made him an icon over the past four years.
“Usain is quite aware of what it takes to be a champion and what he needs to maintain this high level of performances,” Mills said.
“He wants to be a legend in the sport. He is quite aware that his work is not done yet.”