LONDON(AFP) – The sky’s the limit but the focus is most definitely not on Usain Bolt, according to Yohan Blake, the fastest man in the world this year who will be going for the Olympic sprint double.
The Jamaican sprinter, who long lurked in the shadows cast by teammates Bolt and Asafa Powell, has roared to prominence as the potential successor to the illustrious Bolt.
Blake, 22, has come a long way since being sat at home in Jamaica watching on the television as training partner Bolt won three golds in the 100, 200 and 4x100m relay in Beijing four years ago.
He took his chance to claim the world 100m title in Daegu, South Korea, last year after Bolt sensationally false-started in the final, and then stunned onlookers by beating Bolt in the sprint double in the Jamaican Olympic trials.
“My philosophy is that the sky’s the limit,” Blake said. “I’ve always wanted to be at the Olympics. It’s everyone’s dream.
“I’ve got no message for Usain Bolt. He’s a good guy. I’m not focusing on Usain.
“It’s all about going out there, focusing and executing the race. Me and Usain are friends. When we’re training it’s all fun.
“We’ll be keeping all that good chemistry going. On the line, it all changes.”
He added that it was similar with his US rivals: “I try not to think about that rivalry. I just focus on me and what I have to do.
“For me, I keep it simple. I want to beat those guys but it’s all about the execution.
“Come the track, I have to get my focus right, don’t panic, just think about getting to that line,” said Blake, nicknamed the “Beast” for his healthy appetite for work in training under the tutelage of Glen Mills.
Blake contended that his lack of experience at the Olympics was completely irrelevant, and predicted an exciting race in the blue ribbon event of track and field.
“The 100m is going to be great. In every race there are surprises. Everyone’s been waiting for this for four years. It’s going to live up to expectations,” he said.
Blake said usurping Bolt at the Jamaican trials had been less significant in terms of confidence than his 100m win in the worlds.
“A win is a win,” he said. “But I gained confidence in Daegu, even though Usain Bolt wasn’t at his best.
“Four years ago I was at home watching the Olympics. I’d left school in January. I tried out for the team but was not strong enough and didn’t make it.”
But now, Blake said he was confident of contesting the sprint double in the British capital.
“I’m confident of going out there and racing well, going out there and doing what I need to do,” he said, also warning that bettering Bolt’s 100m world record of 9.58sec, set at the 2009 Berlin worlds, was not on the agenda.
“Usain, Tyson (Gay), myself, (Justin) Gatlin and Asafa, we’re running fast and people expect records. But we’re not thinking times, only the gold medal.”
Blake, standing 1.80m (5ft 11in) and weighing 80kg, added: “There’s no pressure. I don’t really think about it. Yes, I’m the fastest man in the world this year and the one to beat, but it’s different on the line.
“I see myself as one of the competitors because anything can happen on the day. We’ll see what happens after I cross the line.”