London: Usain Bolt exorcised the ghosts of Daegu in characteristic style on Sunday night before an ecstatic Olympic Stadium, and of course millions around the world on TV, re-writing his own Olympic record with an effort of 9.63 secs.
Later in the night, after spending close to two hours in celebrating and mandatory television interviews, Bolt sat with Yohan Blake and Justin Gatlin (the top finishers) in front of the world media, ever so keen to grill him on various aspects of his craft - from those heady days in Beijing to the low in Daegu and the present flourish.
Bolt answered everything, and in great detail, when needed or cajoled. “My coach told me not to concentrate too much on the start because the last 50m is the best part of my race. So I just ran pretty much the way he told me and I almost did what I did in Beijing,” he disclosed.
For one, he cleared the air on his mysterious injury that saw people questioning his motivation sensing he was only 95 per cent fit. “I had to prove people wrong. There were many who doubted me and hence the motivation was even greater to come here and show them I am the best in the world,” Bolt bragged with a mischievous twinkle in his eye.
Someone asked him if he thought the race was a perfect one for him. “There was no pressure as I was really confident with myself after the semi-finals. I never realised I had to run against the clock. I looked across on the clock and saw it’s a fast time, the second fastest time and I was happy,” he said.
“However, I am not going to say ‘yes’ it was a perfect race as I know my coach is going to say no,” Bolt joked.
And what about Rio de Janeiro 2016? “Well, I hope I am there. And for that I need to be in good shape. I will be 30 and Yohan Blake will be 26 and it will be interesting,” he smiled.
Is he a legend? Well, he does not consider himself to be one. Not at least till he wins his pet 200m on Thursday. “I have one step into the door with the 100m. Only after winning the 200m will I consider myself a legend,” he said.
And if there is one motivation that can take him through for a second gold for the second time at an Olympic Games, it is the crowd. “It was such a wonderful feeling to step out and get the welcome from the people. I was slightly nervous at first as I thought about the disqualification in Daegu. But as soon as I saw the response from the crowd everything just vanished. The crowd gave me so much confidence. I was ready,” he admitted.
An even bigger reality was in recent weeks when Bolt played second fiddle to Blake on two occasions. “Staying at the top is harder than anything else. You know what it takes to get up there. And when you get there, you tend to lose sight around you. When Blake beat me twice, he woke me up. It’s like he was saying ‘Usain, wake up. I am ready for the Olympics. But are you?’ and I had to wake up.”