Usain Bolt's been the fastest non-jetpacked man in the world for four years now, and at 25, is still in a sprinter's prime. But a funny thing has happened over the last calendar year. At the 2011 World Championships in South Korea, Bolt was disqualified in the 100m final for a false start, and the gold went to his younger countryman and training partner Yohan Blake. Then, last week at the Jamaican Olympic Trials, Bolt lost in the 100m to Blake. The next day, Blake beat him again, this time in the 200m. No biggie, Bolt said. "It is not like I was blown away."
Today was scheduled to be Bolt's final tuneup for London, a 200m at the Monaco Diamond League. But he pulled out, citing injury, presumed to be a hamstring that had to be stretched out after his second loss to Blake on Saturday. It's a minor thing, his coach assures everyone, and it won't affect Bolt in the Olympics. But really, the start of the track events are just 30 days away.
For a runner who many have said doesn't appear to be in top form, there's something worrying about a nagging injury and a pair of losses coming into the big show. Certainly, the day's going to come when Bolt can't hang with the younger generation—we just didn't think that day could come next month. London will show who's the fastest—Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, or Father Time—and it's two against one.