World's fastest man arrives in France
Last time Usain Bolt was at an athletics event in Paris, he was a 17-year-old spectator at the World Championships. Six years on, he has returned as the fastest man in the world and is hoping to add the world title to the Olympic crown he won last year.
Bolt arrived in the French capital on Wednesday to take part in a Golden League meeting on Friday night.
The Jamaican sprint star will be using the event as preparation for next month’s World Championships in Berlin but he didn’t sound like he would be holding anything back when he takes to the track at the Stade de France.
“I’m definitely going out to do my best on Friday,” he told a packed press conference at the Pullman Hotel beside the Eiffel Tower.
“If the weather is good like today, which is wonderful, it should be something special… I don’t like to say how special, but something special.”
Bolt won three sprint gold medals at last year’s Olympics in Beijing, breaking three world records in the process. The 22-year-old’s fastest time in the 100 metres is 9.69 seconds but it’s thought that organisers have offered him a handsome bonus if that record falls in Paris.
“I don’t know really,” Bolt said, when asked if he feels as if he can break the record every time he steps on the track. “I can run fast all the time – I definitely think so – when I’m in good shape and the weather is good.
“I can’t predict times because sometimes you go out there and you feel good, sometimes you don’t. It depends on the feeling and the track. I definitely think world records can go anytime - you never know.”
One man who won’t be racing in Paris – but who will be out to beat Bolt in Berlin – is the current world champion Tyson Gay. The American’s Olympic challenge was hampered by injury last year but he showed he is back to his best by posting the fastest time of the year last week in Rome.
Gay clocked a time of 9.77 seconds but Bolt insists that what other athletes do doesn’t really worry him.
“I don’t fear athletes really, no matter what time they’re running. I’m always confident in myself because I know I train hard and I work very hard for what I want. When I work hard and I know I’m in good shape I’m always ready to run fast.
“The world record, for me any time the weather’s good you never know. I think if me and Tyson have a showdown - I think it’s going to be very fast if the weather’s good.”