Bolt moving out to 400m

Last Updated- May 18, 2009 5:02 GMT | 116 views | 0 Comments

Bolt: I won’t defend my 100m Olympic crown in London

Olympic champion Usain Bolt says he will give up running the 100m to concentrate on the longer sprints and cement his place among the legends of the track.

But the 22-year-old Jamaican’s desire to be ranked alongside the likes of American super-athlete Michael Johnson means he would sacrifice the chance to defend his Olympic 100m crown at the London Games in 2012. And the absence of the fastest man in the world from the blue riband event of the Games would be a huge blow to the organisers.

Bolt, in Manchester for today’s BUPA road races over a specially constructed track in the city, said:My coach wants me to step up to the 400m next season and I think that’s what will happen. The 100m will suffer because it would be difficult to do all three, the 100, 200 and 400. But it doesn’t matter that I may lose the title of the fastest man in the world because I want the 400m world record.

‘It’s the right thing to do at this stage in my career because I want to become a legend, I want to become the first athlete to hold the world record at 100, 200 and 400. If I can do that, I will become the kind of legend that Michael Johnson is.’
Bolt, who won gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4×100m relay in Beijing last summer, says his ambitions are not confined to personal success. He also wants to improve the image of athletics by proving that drugs are not a prerequisite for success.

‘Drugs have done a lot of damage to the sport and it’s important that people like me do something about improving the image of world athletics,’ he said.

‘People like me and Tyson Gay are both of the same mind. We want to show the rest of the world and other runners that you can be successful and clean.

‘I know there are doubts in people’s minds about performances, whether they’ve been drug-enhanced, but we can change all that just by showing we can win medals, break records and be clean.’

Bolt’s trip to Manchester included meeting his Old Trafford idols — Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand among them — before attending United’s Premier
League match with Arsenal yesterday.

Bolt even gave Ronaldo some advice on how to stay on his feet during games. ‘I think I was able to help him and hopefully make him an even better player than he is,’ said

‘I told him his centre of gravity when he runs was not quite correct. He leans forward, starting with his feet behind him. I pointed out that if he could stand straighter he’d be able to move quicker.’

It was a personal letter from Sir Alex Ferguson that persuaded Bolt to take part in today’s event. The United manager, knowing the Jamaican was an avid United fan, wrote to him and set up the players’ meeting on Friday.

‘I couldn’t believe it when I got a letter from Sir Alex Ferguson hoping I would come this weekend and inviting me to meet him and the players. I just told my coach that I wanted to be here,’ said Bolt.

‘I first started supporting Manchester United when I was 11 back home in Jamaica. My playing hero was Ruud van Nistelrooy.

‘It was a great thrill for me to meet them. When I go back home they’ll want to hear more about meeting people like Wayne Rooney and Ronaldo than they will about any
running that I’m doing.’

Bolt will return to Jamaica tomorrow but next Wednesday will be a party night for him and his family and friends. ‘I’ll be watching the European Cup final on TV with all my mates. And I’ve no doubt that United will win the match — and that will mean much more to me after meeting them all.’

This could mean that Asafa will get a chance to win gold in 2012. I hope he does not shit his pants again. :slight_smile:

To hold all the 3 wr…I hope he will run 100s flat out to lower it to low 9"60- high 9"50…9"69 is too near Powell capabilieties…when he will resolve to a 200-400m prep, I doubt he’ll have the pure speed and acceleration required to shave the 100 wr again.

Powell will be getting pretty old in 2012. I don’t think he’ll be a serious contender by then.

I’m wondering has there ever been anyone - male or female - who held the 100m, 200m and 400m world records - or the Imperial equivalents - simultaneously or even over the course of a career?

I think Betty Cuthbert may have set world records at the three distances, but a North Korean is said to have actually run faster at 400m (sub-52) around 1964 Tokyo when Cuthbert returned to win the 400m in 52.0-ish.

Betty is certainly the only athlete - male or female - to have won Olympic gold at the three distances (100, 200m as well as 4x1 in 1956 Melbourne).

Herb McKenley must have been there or thereabouts across the three distances.

Tommie Smith I think actually did hold all three WRs, not sure about concurrently and maybe his 100WR was hand-timed so he would have been one of a number who collectively held the WR.

I don’t remember Tommy having a 100m WR. If he did, it might have been at 10.0ht. He did have 200m,220y straight ht, 200m, 220y turn ht, and 400m,440y ht, and 200m E along the way.

What Bolt does ultimately may be determined by the money- which is likely highest for the 100m.
That said, a suggestion that he will move up soon may create more pressure on meets to come up with his 250,000 appearance demands for the 100m now, in case there isn’t a further opportunity to get in on it later.

Yes, that’s what I was thinking. I will try to check it out asap.

It’s still (comparatively) early days in his career but do you think we are witnessing in Bolt a man we may come to consider the greatest sprinter of all time? (I mean over and above being the Fastest of all time at 100/200)

It’s still (comparatively) early days in his career but do you think we are witnessing in Bolt a man we may come to consider the greatest sprinter of all time? (I mean over and above being the Fastest of all time at 100/200)

Many people laughed when I mentioned Bolt’s name some 4-5 yrs ago stating that he will be the first one to go under 19 seconds in the 200m. This was mentioned on an Australian [Ezboard private forum run by an athlete]. Having said this, and it may seem unorthodox, Bolt just may run all three events [successfully] in the same season. One of the reasons Charlie already mentioned - money.

There is no reason why he could not do it. Being the guy who is rewriting the books he just may rewrite this [approach to training] as well. Running 400m isn’t going to slow this guy that much, me thinks.

Tommie set 10 world records (1 unofficial) but never over 100m or 100y, so he’s scratched. I haven’t found any men who have set WR at 100y/m, 200m/220y or 400m/440y - the search continues…

So far I’ve found Irina Szewinska who set WR at 100m, 200m and 400m as well as Betty Cuthbert who had 100 yards, 200m and 440y as well as 400m, but Cuthbert’s 400m times would not have been world records had the North Korean, Sin Kim Dan, had her performances recognised by the IAAF. But being the type of regime they continue to be today, the PRK did not affiliate with the IAAF so none of their performances were recognised by the IAAF. Sin ran 51.9 (hand) in 1962 in Pyongyang, 51.4h in 63 in Jakarta and 51.2 on oCT 21, 1964 - 4 days after Cuthbert clocked an IAAF recognised WR of 52.01sec in winning the 400m at the Tokyo Olympics.

Another Aussie, Marlene Mathews also held 100y, 220y and 440y world records in the late 1950s.

Even if it does slow him down… how much? If he ends up being in 9.5mid-9.5high shape this year (a stretch, IMO, but possible)… even if he loses two tenths to 400m training, how many people are going to be able to be consistently faster than him, when it counts (especially after rounds?)?

What about Marita Koch (for women)? I know she never had the 100m record, but didn’t she have one of the indoor records (50-60m or so?)?

cORRECT. Koch had the 50m wr 6.11i at Grenoble in 1980, but she never held the world record for 100y or 100m.

She’s in a similar boat to the American Laurence “Lon” Myers who set 100y WR of 10.0 twice in 1880 and he also held the 330y and 300y WR and also the 440y record, as well as the 600m and 1000y wr. bUT FOR SOME REASON HE NEVER SET A RECORD AT 220Y OR 200M.

Its still a long way away. Someone else may come to challenge him. Dix may step up. Gay is an obvious contender. A year in modern sprinting is a long time. Anything longer will seem like an eternity…

Koch still holds the 100m WIB, but her 100y was broken by Drechsler.
She had WR/WIR at 50m, 60m, 100y, 100m, 200m, 400m.

PJ, I was mostly interested in outdoor world records. I checked the iaaf progressive world records book (roberto quercetani’s I think, i have since locked it away and cannot remember??). In this book anyway it does not list Koch for 100m, but of course I have seen her run a few times and she was awesome.)

Koch ran 11.16 indoors and also broke the 100m WR outdoors with 10.83, breaking Göhr’s 10.88 mark. The problem was that Göhr was in front in that race in 10.81! :slight_smile:

According to the website of the German athletics federation (, Bolt has clarified that, even though he will likely focus on the 400m next year, he does, in fact, intend to defend his Olympic titles in London.

True that man. Even if he loses 0.2 seconds from his PB, not many can possibly beat him at the 9.7-9.8 range.