Trevor Graham on Usain Bolt -says he expected Bolt to win Athens 200. Pitching up?

THE DEFEAT and disappointment tasted by Usain Bolt at the Athens Olympics may be a thing of the past, if new coach Glen Mills corrects the sprinter’s technical flaws.

That’s the feeling expressed by Jamaica-born Trevor Graham, coach of 200m Olympic champion Shawn Crawford and the world’s fastest man Justin Gatlin, in a telephone interview with The Gleaner two weeks ago.

“When I saw him in the first round (at Olympics), he just didn’t look good,” said Graham, who spent his childhood in Kingston before migrating for the U.S. at the age of 15.

Graham, who has produced over 20 Olympic athletes who have accumulated 19 medals: 13 gold, two silver and four bronze, said he felt for Bolt, the world’s fastest junior, at last year’s games.


“I really felt it for the kid,” added Graham, who had guided Gatlin and Crawford to gold medals in Athens.

“I wanted to go out and say to him (Bolt), ‘hey look, you’ve got plenty more Olympics in you; just go back and try to figure out what went wrong’,” he said.

Immediately after his disappointing time of 21.05 seconds in the first round of the 200m, which signalled his exit from the Olympic Games, Bolt, 18, switched to coach Mills from Fitz Coleman, who had guided Bolt during his first year as a professional athlete at the IAAF High Performance Training Centre (HPTC) in Kingston.

Bolt, who set the World Junior record of 19.93 seconds at last year’s CARIFTA Games in Bermuda, has been shrouded in controversy since he pulled out of several meets in 2004, including the first Jamaica Interna-tional Invitational, several meets in Europe and the IAAF World Junior Championships in Italy.

Mills has long been one of the top sprint coaches in the world and has conditioned World Championship 100-metre champion Kim Collins of St. Kitts and Nevis and many-time former Jamaican Olympian Raymond Stewart.

Coach Mills, who recently took on former national sprint double champion Aleen Bailey, is a good person to help Bolt, according to Graham.

“Now he is with Glen Mills, I expect him to do well. I am looking forward for Crawford and Gatlin to go up against him (this year),” continued Graham.


“I think he (Bolt) has got the potential to be great, but it seems as if he is getting injured a lot. I think somebody needs to find out exactly what’s going on (with him); why is he getting injured, check his fitness level, check his balance, study his biomechanics more,” explained Graham, who was voted NIKE USA Coach of the Year in 2002.

A member of Jamaica’s 1988 Olympic silver medal mile relay team, Graham, who coached several athletes to world and American records and produced many world champions, said Bolt has technical problems that can be corrected.

“I think if he had corrected these things, he :rolleyes: should have been the Olympic (200m) gold medallist. I expected him to run my guys to the line, and once I got there (Athens) I heard he was injured, I didn’t know he was injured,” he said.

Meanwhile, the man who has Jamaicans Dwight Thomas and Patrick Jarrett under his wing at the Sprint Capitol U.S.A. (SCUSA) camp in Raleigh, North Carolina, believes Asafa Powell is the best Jamaican sprinter.

“I think the most talented (Jamaican) athlete right now is Asafa Powell,” said Graham. “I think Asafa Powell, on a world level, is one of the greatest sprinters ever to come out of Jamaica,” he said.

Maybe Charlie should do a new DVD the Usain Project :slight_smile: