Jamaican runner Yohan Blake is tipped to beat Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt in the 100-meter race. (Photo : Reuters)
When it comes to the US, the rivalry of swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte has most people talking, but for the island of Jamaica and sprinting fanatics, it is the rivalry of Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt and World 100-meter Champion Yohan Blake.
Blake's rise in track and field came when fellow runner Asafa Powell and Bolt were facing injuries leading up to recent trials and competitions before the Olympics.
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Blake ran the second fastest time in the history of a 200-meter race with 19.26 seconds in Brussels last year, followed by winning gold in the World 100-meter in South Korea. The win in South Korea came after Bolt was disqualified for stepping out of his starting post early. It will remain a mystery if Bolt could have won the race.
"Win, lose or draw we are friends, even though it is business and he wants to win and I want to win," said Blake about Bolt.
Retried American track gold medalist Michael Johnson has considered Blake as a "legitimate challenger" to Bolt.
"Yohan Blake showed he will take advantage when Bolt does not perform at his best," said Johnson. "Bolt now has a legitimate challenger and will need to be at his best in London to defend his Olympic title."
Further support for Blake came from fellow Olympic gold medalist and former 100-meter record holder Maurice Greene.
"Blake is going to win. Blake is just a little bit better and if you go back and look at the Jamaican trials they say Bolt had a bad start but look at Blake too he was right back there with Bolt, they both had bad starts and Blake was still able to come out victorious in that race. I mean even though he is having slow starts he still gets second though so he is still able to overcome some things," said Greene.
Green added that the current 100-meter record, set by Bolt, could break to 9.4 seconds during the 2012 Summer Olympics.
"I eat, sleep, think, walk and pray about it. The Olympic final is the crème de la crème," said Blake in the Daily Mail. "Why wouldn't it dominate my mind at every moment?"
"I close my eyes and dream about it. I give it everything. That is why I am 'The Beast,'" added Blake, referring to his nickname given to him after his Brussels victory. "My philosophy is: when I am working, other guys are sleeping. I never stop working. I want to be the best."
Blake's track record isn't a clean one. He tested positive for methylaxanthine at the Jamaican Championships in 2009. As a result, he was banned from competition for three months, ultimately missing the 2009 World Championships. Blake stated to have inadvertently taken the drug while taking an energy supplement.
"I am a man of surprises. I surprised people in [South Korea]. I surprised them in Brussels. I can surprise them in London," said Blake. "You never know what can happen."
Yohan Blake's Olympic Schedule:
Preliminaries: Aug.4, 5 a.m. EST
Round 1: Aug. 4, 7:30 a.m. EST
Semifinals: Aug. 5, 2:45 p.m. EST
Final: Aug. 5, 4:50 p.m. EST
Round 1: Aug. 7, 6:50 a.m. EST
Semifinals: Aug. 8, 3:10 p.m. EST
Final: Aug. 9, 3:55 p.m. EST
Men's 4x100-meter Relay
Round 1: Aug. 10, 2:45 p.m. EST
Final: Aug. 11, 4 p.m. EST