Usain Bolt will skip an Olympic tuneup event in Monaco due to a "slight problem," but vows to defend his titles in the 100 and 200 at the London Games against a field that includes the man who beat him twice this month in Jamaica, Yohan Blake.
His coach, Glen Mills, said that he withdrew Bolt after a "careful assessment" found a "slight problem" that he wouldn't elaborate on. He said this will give the runner "sufficient time for treatment and time to train and prepare for the Olympic Games in London."
As he said this, television and marketing executives worldwide reached for their bottle of Pepto. An Olympics without Bolt would leave a gaping hole in the second-week program in London. While the stories of Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin will dominate the first week, Bolt and Blake are expected to carry the second week of mass coverage. Losing those two finals and the most compelling part of the 4x100 -- when they team up for Jamaica -- would be devastating.
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Bolt insists that he'll be there. "I am happy to have earned my spot on the Jamaican Olympic team despite the challenge," he said in a statement. "I will be in London to defend my titles in the 100, 200 and 4x100 meters."
Running in a competition the week before the Olympics was a questionable training choice in the first place. Runners don't taper for events like swimmers do and Bolt has a week from the Opening Ceremony to prepare for the 100. Why race beforehand and run the risk of injury?
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Practicality aside, saving his runs for London is better drama too. When you're an athlete like Bolt -- one whose dominated the sport for nearly a half-decade -- you need to draw on different motivation. Bolt has won three golds before. He's looking to do it again. What will drive him? Becoming the first man to truly win back-to-back 100s at an Olympics is solid. Defeating a young upstart and reclaiming the throne is even better. Superman always flies in at the last minute, right?
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