By Gary Smith, World-Track
Jamaican sprint star Asafa Powell believes his fellow countryman Usain Bolt did his homework to improve his starts this past season.
Despite his sluggish starts throughout the 2008 season, Bolt ran unmatched, as he only suffered one defeat at the hands of Powell, who used a bullet start to win in Stockholm prior to the Olympics in Beijing.
The world record holder returned in the Bird’s Nest to dominate the sprints, even with his slow start — going on to win the sprint double with record breaking times.
But even with his God gifted talent, speed and agility, Bolt knew the likes of Tyson Gay and Powell would be serious threats if he ever falls asleep in the blocks.
Following the Olympics his coach Glen Mills promised there would be significant improvements in the 23-year-old starts in the next few years, and after seeing Bolt getting out with the best starters in Berlin last month, Powell says the foundation has already laid.
“The reason Bolt improved his starts is because he watched videos of other runners who are good at starts, and trained over and over,” Powell, one of the best starters around, said.
“Practicing in a good system is definitely linked to good results,” he added.
Bolt was among the best from the blocks in the semis-final of his 100m, getting out dead on with training partner Daniel Bailey, the Antiguan young star.
He, however, was left in the blocks by five men in the 100m finals, but still managed the take the lead after 30m on his way to shattering his world record with a 9.58seconds run.
Bolt’s 0.133 reaction time in the 200m final was easily the best of the entire field and he went on to set another world record of 19.19seconds, even on fatigue legs.
Both Powell and Bolt were key members of the Jamaican sprint relay teams that set a world record of 37.10seconds at the Olympics last summer, and the side that won gold at the world championships in Berlin in August.