Sprint superstar Usain Bolt promises “good show” in first ever 300 metres in Ostrava

Usain Bolt: Foto: ČTK

The world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, is currently in the Czech Republic for the country’s biggest athletics meeting, the Golden Spike in Ostrava. The Jamaican sprinter holds the world records in the 100 and 200 metres, but will be taking part in an unusual race on Thursday night: the 300 metres. Ahead of the big event, he spoke exclusively to Czech Radio.

The fastest man the world has ever seen is making his fourth appearance at the Golden Spike in five years. Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, Usain Bolt admitted to Czech Radio’s main station Radiožurnál that he has never actually been in the centre of Ostrava. Nevertheless, he said, he enjoys a warm relationship with the city’s athletics fans.

Usain Bolt,  photo: CTK
“For me it’s the energy of the crowd. I really love competing here, because they love seeing me. I really enjoy coming out and competing for them, because they really give me a lot of support and enjoy seeing me compete. And I definitely like the Golden Spikes that I get when I win [laughs].”

At the World Championships in Berlin last year, the 23-year-old set new world records of 9.58 seconds in the 100 metres and 19.19 seconds in the 200 metres. So, has Bolt already set his sights on improving on those records? And how quickly can any human feasibly run those two distances?

“I’ve no clue. I said earlier in the year that I think the 100 metre world record will probably go to 9.4 seconds. I’m hoping I’m that person who can do it. I haven’t really put any thought into how fast the 200 metres could be run…I don’t plan records, really [laughs]. I go out there and just run, because they way I look at it, if you have the world record already there’s no reason to go out there and want to break the world record. For me it’s always to win, to get that gold medal. I look forward to running, to executing it right and winning that race.”

Usain Bolt  (right),  photo: CTK
Having achieved so much at shorter distances, the three-time Olympic champion has come under pressure to try the 400 metres. But Usain Bolt says that is one challenge he is in no hurry to take up.

“I won’t change my disciplines before the 2012 Olympics, because I have to defend my titles. I’m not fond of the 400 metres, everybody knows that I don’t really want to run it. But anything is possible. You have to keep your mind open, because I don’t know what my coach will want me to do, or what we’ll plan to do together. The long jump I definitely want to try before I retire: maybe the last two years of my career, when I decide I’m going to retire, I’ll probably change discipline and just go do the long jump or something.”

However, in Ostrava on Thursday night the Jamaican will in a sense be changing discipline, as he takes part in his first 300 metres. It is a distance you rarely see run, perhaps reflecting the fact Bolt’s appearance at the Golden Spike is essentially an exhibition.

Usain Bolt,  photo: CTK
“I’m definitely going out there to give it my all, to run hard, and give the Ostravan crowd a good show. As I said, I enjoy competing here, I enjoy competing for them, showing them a good time. So I’m looking forward to it. It should be good, it should be interesting. I came here one year and I saw Jeremy Wariner running it and I said, I think I can run a good 300. So that’s why I’m here running a 300 now [laughs].”

Michael Johnson holds the “record” of 30.85 seconds in the 300 metres, though the distance is not recognised by the IAAF. If Usain Bolt makes a faster time on Thursday night, the Golden Spike’s organisers have pledged a bonus of USD 30,000 on top of an appearance fee believed to be over 10 times that amount.