By Gary Smith, World-Track
How remarkable was Usain Bolt in Berlin on Sunday? Well the reaction of Michael Johnson, who was left "speechless" with his performance says it all.
"The question for Bolt’s rivals is: what can they do about him? Let’s look at the situation from Tyson Gay’s perspective," Johnson said.
"He has just run 100m in 9.71, a time that he might never have thought he would be capable of achieving. And he got beaten by two metres."
Johnson said Gay’s 2007 sprint double gold medal performance in Osaka, two-years-ago looks likely to be the only major titles he will achieve with Bolt around.
"Thank goodness, from Gay’s point of view, that he had the opportunity in 2007 to win world championship golds at 100 and 200m," Johnson, who holds the 400m world record said. "For him, it’s over.
"And the same is true for other young sprinters of around Bolt’s age, like Daniel Bailey and Richard Thompson. What can they do?
"There are eight lanes on a running track and organisers are going to have to fill the other seven, so there will be a living to be made, but the prospect of major titles at 100m for anyone apart from Bolt in the foreseeable future is zero as long as he stays uninjured."
Bolt blasted his way to a unbelievable 9.58seconds world record to win the 100m at the world championships in Berlin on Sunday — erasing his own previous mark of 9.69, set at the Beijing Olympic Games last summer.
But that run was not what struck down the outspoken Johnson, as while his fellow commentating colleagues were up their feet urging Bolt’s run, the American retired television analyst admits that was left speechless.
"It’s true that while my colleagues in the studio were up on their feet urging Usain Bolt on to victory and the world record, I was stuck in my chair, absolutely speechless," said Johnson, who predicted the day before that everyone else would be running for the silver and medals on Sunday.
"It was the same just after the race: there really aren’t words to describe what we had just seen. But I’ve had a bit of time to reflect on it now, and the thing for me is not just "How great is Usain Bolt?" We know the answer to that one. For me, it’s more about a new way of thinking about the 100m at the top level for the next few years."