Jamaican sprint sensation Usain Bolt has a gold medal haul like no other but the global superstar says he is far from finished yet.
Three golds from the London Olympics in the 100, 200 and 4x100m relay mirrored his success in the Beijing Games of 2008.
In between he nailed a gold treble at the 2009 Berlin world championships and also won two golds in Daegu in 2011, a false start in the 100m putting paid to another clean sweep.
He holds the world records in the 100 and 200m (9.58 and 19.19sec, both set in Berlin), and was part of the record-breaking Jamaican relay squad (36.84sec in London Olympics).
But now the 26-year-old, who will race the 200m at the Paris leg of the Diamond League at the Stade de France today, has his sights set on further “dominating” the sport.
“I want to dominate sprinting until the Rio Games,” said Bolt.
“To dominate the competition, remain the best despite all these young, ambitious sprinters appearing on the scene, all wanting to beat me.
“I remember asking (US track legend) Michael Johnson the year he retired from sport what he thought of his career. He explained to me his pride at having been able to dominate his sport all the way to the end. My objective is the same.”
Bolt explained that a love of “competition” was key to his motivation.
“I still get just as much of a kick out of it. The more I run in competition, the more I want to surpass myself,” he said.
“My challenge over the next three years will be to go right to the end of the Olympiad whilst remaining at the top. To achieve that, I’m going to have to maintain the same level of performance season after season. I’m ready for it though. I’m working towards that every single day.”
Bolt said that with this season’s world championships being held from August 10-18 in Moscow, top-class races were essential, “to find out where I’m at so as I can place myself in relation to the others and, most importantly, in relation to myself”.
His performance in the Jamaican trials had given him confidence for the remainder of the season in the build-up to the worlds.
“In the 100, the second part of the race, the last 60 metres, was good,” he said.
“I’m feeling better and better with every performance. Competition fires up my motivation again and enables me to get into a rhythm.”
Bolt will be up against French hope Christophe Lemaitre over the 200m, with Grenada’s world champion Kirani James racing the 400m.
Other stand-out athletes on show in a stellar field include 110m hurdles world record holder Aries Merritt, world pole vault champion Renaud Lavillenie, double Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, and Ethiopia’s multiple medal-winning Tirunesh Dibaba in the 5,000m.
Returning Croat Blanka Vlasic will again lock horns with Russian Ana Chicherova in the women’s high jump.
Pearson confident Worlds build-up is on track
Lausanne: Australia’s Sally Pearson is finding her rhythm again after returning from a hamstring injury and is confident she is on track to defend her sprint hurdles title at the World Championships next month, the Olympic champion said.
The 26-year-old Queenslander suffered a hamstring tear in a 4x100m relay at the Asian Grand Prix Athletic Championship in Sri Lanka in May after missing the domestic season with the same injury. She made a winning return in the Czech Republic last month but lacked her usual speed between the barriers and was fourth in a strong 100 hurdles field at the IAAF Diamond League event in Birmingham on Sunday.
“I can definitely run faster than what I did in Birmingham. I feel like my rhythm is starting to come back so that’s a good thing, and anything around 12.6 would be nice,” Pearson said in an Athletics Australia statement.
“I haven’t come into this season with too many expectations, but we have made some changes to my programming with a few extra races added to prepare for the World Championships and I’m confident the time will start to come down.” The Diamond League event in Lausanne was her third stop before the World Championships in Moscow in August and Pearson said she had tried to stay patient. “I’m surprised by how I am dealing with this situation, I thought I would be a lot more anxious than I am,” she said. “I’m really happy and relaxed and that’s probably because I have already done what I am trying to do this year.
“I’ve won the world title, I’ve won the Olympic title and all I want now is the world record but I know that I would be asking too much of myself after the year so far.
“I’m being as patient as I can be, and that’s not something that I am usually very good at.
“It would obviously be nice to go out into these races and win, but after two injuries and only two races I am doing quite well for where my season is at.”