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Backley: Relaxed Bolt’s success not assured

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Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt (Reuters)

I don't think Usain Bolt's success at the Games in London is a given. If he's thinking that, I'd put my money elsewhere.

Rewind a year to Daegu. As soon as he false-started I said on air that he falsed because he knew what shape Yohan Blake was in. Blake went on to prove that by running so fast in the 200m in Brussels a few weeks later.

It's wide open. Blake has beaten him convincingly — he ran away from him in that 200m. Bolt knows he is strong, and that he can run away without fading. How is Bolt under pressure? We saw he isn't great at the Jamaican championships.

Also you have to worry about Bolt's general demeanour. He's been relaxing, having a good time, and it's been a good three years since Berlin. That's a long time.

Having said all that, the only blip on Bolt's major championship record is Daegu. And remember Tyson Gay has put Bolt under pressure before — he was incredible in Beijing but Bolt smashed the world record.

You have to still hold Bolt as favourite. But is he as invincible as he was in Beijing? In Berlin? Throw the Americans into the equation, such as Gay and the drug cheat Justin Gatlin, then it's a very interesting situation. Gay in particular ran is a man in form, and the pressure of a championships will bring drama.

I asked Linford Christie recently who he thought would win. Like a politician, he refused to answer my question, constantly evading it. When pushed though, he said Blake. When pushed, I would say Bolt. But that's how close it is.

Former javelin world record holder and twice Olympic silver medallist Steve Backley will be an expert consultant for Eurosport-Yahoo! during the London 2012 Games.

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