Bolt rules out 400m, for now
Paris - Sprint sensation Usain Bolt on Friday ruled out running the 400 metres for the foreseeable future, as he prepares to launch his 100 metres race season in Daegu, South Korea on May 19.
Bolt, 23, set world records in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and followed up that feat last year with three more gold medals and two more world records at the World Championships in Berlin.
This weekend, Bolt will be competing at the Penn Relays, where he'll run in the Jamaican 4x100 relay as part of the USA vs. the World competition on Saturday.
Bolt is training hard but says this isn't a crucial year for him. He is fine-tuning his moves to get ready for next year.
"We're not trying to do anything special this year," Bolt said.
"We're trying to do just enough to stay on beat this year and do it with as little energy as possible. Because next year we're going to be very serious. Next year won't be the same."
Pressure has since grown for him to commit to running the 400m at the 2012 Olympics in London, but the easy-going Jamaican says one-off 300m exhibition races are all he's prepared to countenance for the time being.
"The 200 metres is as far as I'll go," he said during a conference call with journalists on Friday.
"The 300 is almost a sprint, but it's not that bad. The lactic acid starts to build up, but it's not that bad."
Bolt's 100m rival Tyson Gay recently broke the 45-second mark in the 400m - Bolt's personal best is 45.28sec - but the sprint king said he would not be drawn into a duel at the distance.
"Congratulations to him, but it doesn't motivate me (to compete against him)," said the triple Olympic champion.
Asked what put him off the event, Bolt replied: "The training. It's much harder than training for the 200m. I don't think I'm ready."
He did concede, however, that he could be persuaded into competing at the longer distance in the interests of establishing his legacy in athletics.
"I don't want to do 400 metres," he said. "People want me to do it, but I don't want to. If I have to do it, if that's what it takes for me to become a legend of the sport, I guess I'll have to do it. But I don't want to.
"The only event I think I'll try is the long jump," he said. "But at the end of my career, just before I retire."
Bolt will race his first 100m of the year in Daegu, venue for next year's World Championships, before appearing at the Diamond League event in Shanghai, China on May 23.
He is also scheduled to compete in the Diamond League meets in New York, Paris and Brussels.
With no major championship to work towards this season, Bolt said the new, 14-event Diamond League would give him and his rivals a good opportunity to put on a show.
"The Diamond League is very important," he said. "There are no big championships and normally most of the guys don't really compete against each other. It's very important we keep the sport exciting and run fast times."
One man who Bolt could find himself up against this year is former Olympic 100m champion Justin Gatlin of the USA, who is due to return to the sport in July following a four-year ban for doping offences.
Bolt, though, says he will find it difficult to get back to the top.
"It'll be very hard to come back from that and compete," he said.
"The intensity is getting harder over the years. But if he comes back and runs well, I have no problem competing with him."
Bolt ruled out the possibility of eye-catching times in the season's early races but said his target remains to whittle down his 9.58sec 100m record to below the 9.4sec barrier.
"Anything's possible," he said. "9.4 will be where the record stops. I've said it before, I hope I'm the one that gets it."
Looking ahead to the 2012 Olympics, Bolt says that only by defending his 100m title in London can he etch his name even more deeply into athletics folklore.
"I want to defend my title," he said. "Lots of people have won just one. If I'm dominant for four, five, six years over 100 metres, I can become a legend of the sport."