As their keenly anticipated clash in the final of the Men’s 100M at the London Olympics looms large on the horizon, pundits and general track-and field watchers are beside themselves with glee over what has seemingly emerged as an intriguing rivalry between Jamaicans Usain ‘Lightning’ Bolt and Yohan ‘The Beast’ Blake, the fastest men on the planet, who just happen to be training partners under Coach Glen Mills’ tutelage. But lest you buy into the argument that there is even a shred of animosity between the two super-speedy sprinters and Racers track club stablemates, Blake has moved to set the record straight.
Taking to his Facebook account a few days ago, Blake shared the photo above (at Brunei University) with his more than 4,000 followers accompanied by the strongly-worded caption: “All dem ah talk, we’re in this together. Jamaica to di world.”
Forget Gay and Gatlin. Ever since Blake defeated Bolt in the sprints at the recent National Senior Trials, almost everyone from the international press to the layman on the street have been firmly touting Blake as the upsetter par excellence who now stands between Bolt and a repeat of his exploits in Beijing.
On Thursday, Sports Illustrated published an insightful piece by David Epstein asking, “Can Yohan Blake beat Usain Bolt on track in London? The United Kingdom’s The Guardian has also weighed in on the conversation with the recent “Yohan Blake: The Beast who could beat Usain Bolt at London 2012.” Then there’s this sharply-observed gem of an article from the Associated Press' Howard Fendrich titled “Usain Bolt vs. Yohan Blake Rivalry Adds Intrigue to Olympics,” which sort of hits the nail on the head.
And the arguments are not unfounded, as the plot leading into London is pure edge-of-your-seat intrigue, promising to explode into a heart-pounding thriller of a climax when D-Day arrives. Blake has shown that he is determined to leave London with a gold medal around his neck and Bolt has long expressed a desire to leave these Games a legend, snagging gold in both the sprints and in the relay. So who will triumph? It remains to be seen.
But, as Blake has sought to make abundantly clear, nothing can come between – let alone ruin – the respectful, brotherly rapport he shares with Bolt. They are not antagonistic rivals as some would have you believe. More importantly, they are both busy keeping a vigilant eye on those glory-famished Americans because at the end of the day, a Jamaican must capture the marquee events in London. And isn’t that what we all truly want? When all is said and done, Jamaica wins.
Meantime, both athletes are now in the UK, fine-tuning preparations for the Games, which commence with an Opening Ceremony on July 27. But before then, Blake is down to compete in the 100M a meet in Lucerne, Switzerland on Tuesday, July 17. Jamaica’s Olympic contingent is expected to set up training camp in Birmingham this week.