Usain Bolt’s latest globetrotting escapades landed him in Australia this week to promote his new personal flavor of Gatorade called Bolt Lemon Ice. While speaking to reporters, Bolt expressed his thought that he could lower the 100 meter world record to 9.4 seconds.
The Jamaican triple-world record holder has always been someone to claim big things and come through on his promises, having crushed his marks in the 100m and 200m last summer in Berlin. Since the 10 second barrier was broken in the 100, the biggest margin that the world record had been broken before Bolt was Maurice Greene, who took the mark down by 0.05 seconds from 9.84 down to 9.79. Bolt last summer brought down his own time from Beijing by an incredible 0.11 seconds to the current world record of 9.58. Wikipedia has an excellent page on the world record progression in the event that is worth checking out here.
Sprinters usually cite the start and drive phases as the places where they can most easily improve, but I’m not sure how much better Bolt can get out. He had an impeccable start in Berlin and got out better than anyone else in the field. His loss earlier this year to Tyson Gay, however, showed that his start is still vulnerable. In order to put up the consistent times needed to challenge the 9.5 barrier, Bolt will need to make sure he can always start like he did in Berlin.
Bolt’s lack of fitness in 2010 showed that he was in truly top form a year ago. Despite his reputation as a heavy partier, I still believe Bolt trains very hard, so I’m not sure how much room for improvement there is in his work ethic either.
Even if the goal of running the 9.4s is a bit unrealistic, Bolt deserves to be praised for setting high goals for himself. Even if he fails to reach them, the man is bringing the public eye back on track and field through his words, actions, and performances.