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August 22, 2009

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Jamaican says he is on track for legend status

JAMAICAN Usain Bolt, who shattered the 200 meters world record to win gold at the world championships in Berlin on Thursday, said he was closing in on his biggest aim of becoming a sprinter the world would never forget.

"I keep telling you guys my aim is to become a legend. I don't think about records. I don't put myself under pressure. I know what to do and I go and execute," the 22-year-old told reporters.

"I did well for myself and I am on my way to becoming a legend so I am just happy."

Bolt claimed three gold medals at the Beijing Olympics last year and two at the world championships in Berlin, smashing the world records on his way to every title.

In the same stadium where American Jesse Owens won four gold medals, including three in the sprints, at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Bolt knocked off 11 hundredths of a second in each of his two gold medal races, the 100 and 200 meters.

He ran a jaw-dropping 9.58 seconds in the 100 before pulverizing his 200 mark with a new world record of 19.19.

"I keep saying anything is possible. You work hard, you train hard. I still train very hard and running fast races doesn't change that," said the Jamaican, who is expected to take Shanghai by storm at the Golden Grand Prix next month.

Bolt said he was not interested in convincing those who did not believe the records were a result of his hard work, saying that questions about doping were an inevitable part of athletics.

"I am not worried. I don't get offended," he said. "I know it is going to be always like this in the sport."

Asked whether a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth would be something he would like, Bolt said: "I just say that would be a great thing. Seriously that would be wonderful. I would get the title 'Sir Usain Bolt'.

"That sounds very nice."

A year ago American track great Michael Johnson predicted Bolt would probably break his then 12-year-old 200 meters world record, but not yet. An hour later he was eating his words as his 19.32 was taken by the Jamaican's 19.30.

Johnson, this time working as an analyst for the BBC, said on Thursday he thought Bolt was too tired to take it down further, only to watch stupefied as he took 11 hundredths off to complete a clean sweep of world and Olympic sprint titles, all secured with world record runs.

"Unbelievable -- a ridiculous race," Johnson said. "The bend is unbelievable. No one has ever run a bend like this and probably never will. He ran hard and tried as hard as possible. He was up on (Wallace) Spearmon 15 meters into the race.

"This is the most incredible bend ever. He doesn't run with technique -- he's rocking all over the place -- and then he's already got a big smile on his face at the end."

And Bolt has done all that while looking as if he is preparing for a jog on the beach with his friends.

"He has a feel for the moment," said Spearmon, whose 19.85 seconds for third would have won all but two of the previous 11 world championship finals.

"If you watch him before the race he is loving every bit of everyone screaming his name. He takes it all in, he feeds off the crowd and it shows on the track.

"He's a great competitor. He's fast and he's what the world of track and field needs right now."


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