For a time, the sprinting world was dominated by two men from the same island. One name you will undoubtedly be familiar with – Usain Bolt. The other may take a quick Google search to refresh your memory – Yohan Blake.
Incredibly, Blake contested the 100m final that saw Bolt take a third successive gold medal in the event, and fell totally under the radar as Bolt lapped up the plaudits, finishing outside the medal zone in fourth place. Even then he clocked 9.93 seconds, but it wasn’t enough.
Follow Blake around for a day, and you can see the dedication to his craft is aimed at upstaging his fellow countryman. He is focus personified, both in the weight room and on the track. Meticulous in his methods, and thorough in his body conditioning; he is tired of being the worlds second fastest man; he wants to be number 1.
2014 and 2015 was a horror show for the man fondly labelled ‘The Beast”, with painful injuries to his hamstring curtailing his season, and forcing him to surrender several world titles and watch helplessly as rivals like Bolt, America’s Justin Gatlin and Canada’s Andre De Grasse (the bronze medallist at this years 100m final) passed him by.
Blake has a chance, albeit a distant one, in his much favoured 200m event before a season finishing 4x100m relay, in which he and his fleet footed countrymen are overwhelming favourites. But he may have to wait four years more before he has his prime time, for Bolt will surely retire now, at the age of 29, when he cannot possibly dominate any more. Blake, who will be 30 by the time the procession reaches Tokyo in 2020 could have seen his chances at glory fade already, by the sheer nature of his injuries, and the utter superiority Bolt holds over he and his peers.
With many regarding the outcome of the 200m as a foregone conclusion, Blake may have seen his chances at glory fade already. Whether he will still have the brilliance in 2020 that he possesses now is another question entirely, and one Blake will need to act on strenuously to ensure he seizes his much desired gold medal.