It was a wonderful way for the 22-year-old Blake to bounce back from the disappointment of losing out to Usain Bolt in the 100m and 200m Olympic finals. And it also sent out a stark message to the great man himself that his world record time of 9.58 – set in the Berlin world championships three years ago – might not stand for much longer.
Only Bolt himself has run faster than the time recorded by Blake, in the Berlin race and in the recent Olympic final where he clocked 9.63 seconds to Blake’s 9.75.
Bolt (who also ran 9.69sec in the 2008 Olympic Final) was one of the first to congratulate Blake, high fiving his protégée at trackside as he prepared to run in the 200m. Inevitably Bolt romped to victory in his race with a time of 19.58 (a meeting record) but for once he was overshadowed by the exploits of the man they call ‘The Beast’.
Said Bolt: “9.69 is a wonderful result. I could tell Yohan would run fast, I’ve seen him in training. I predicted 9.72, but he went a little bit faster.”
Remarkably, Blake has been struggling to shake off a heavy cold for the past week but despite that, and in the face of a slight headwind, he shaved .06sec off his personal best in the cool Swiss air.
“I knew I was fast and my coach told me I could run faster,” Blake said later. “Today I could finally prove it.”
The manner of Blake’s victory will shake up Bolt, coming just hours after the Olympic champion announced that he intends to compete in the 2016 Games in Rio. In the immediate aftermath of the London Games the 26-year-old Bolt had been non-committal as to his intentions in four years’ time, but speaking prior to the Lausanne meet he appeared to have made up his mind. “Yes, definitely I will be there [in Rio], as long as I’m fit and I’m ready,” he told reporters. “It’ll be a little bit harder but I’m looking forward to it.”
Asked whether he will attempt to become the first man in Olympic history to win three consecutive 100m titles, Bolt replied: “There’s a lot of things I can do in the sport. My coach wants me to do 400 metres, I want to try long jump. I could always try to aim for the records again, so there’s different things, but after the season we’ll decide what we want to do and work on that next season.”
In the light of Blake’s blistering time Bolt might decide he needs to put the pretender in his place and defend his 100m crown. As for the possibility of seeing Blake and Bolt go head-to-head before the 2016 Olympics, that will require a lot of cold, hard cash. “I would run with Usain any day, he’s my training partner,” Blake told the BBC last night. “I would love to run with him, but they have to put up big money.”