Exclusive: “Bolt must drop either 4x100 or 4x400 at London 2012” says team-mate Frater
Thursday, 16 February 2012
February 16 - Usain Bolt's sprint relay colleague Michael Frater believes the Jamaican team will improve their world record at London 2012 – but he believes the defending Olympic 100 and 200 metres champion will have to think again about his plan to add the 4x400m to his schedule at the Games.
Bolt, who anchored the 4x100m team to victory at last year's IAAF World Championships in Daegu in a world record of 37.04sec, announced after earning the IAAF Athlete of the Year award in November that he would be adding the 400m relay to his schedule for London.
But Frater, who has relay gold medals from the 2008 Olympics and the 2009 and 2011 World Championships, believes his friend and colleague has bitten off more than he can chew for London.
"I think Usain running the 400 relay is definitely going to impact on his sprinting - as he is realising," Frater told insidethegames.
"Last year in Daegu I think he was really tired after doing the sprint relay.
"Doing the 4x400 in London is going to be very difficult when you look at the scheduling.
"Usain would definitely have to choose between doing the 4x100 and the 4x400.
"Some people would like to see him run a 400, and I think that's the way they are trying to get him to run a 400.
"But I don't think he really needs to do anything extra. If he can win the Olympic 100 and 200 as he did in Beijing I don't think he needs to prove anything to anyone."
Frater is convinced, however, that the Jamaican quartet will finish London 2012 with another gold medal – and an improvement to their world record.
"We have the speed.
"As long as we have good baton exchanges and everyone is healthy we will definitely have another world record."
Frater points by way of support to the unmatched level of internal competition among Jamaica's male sprinters.
"Even for the Olympics there are three sports for the 100m and we have six guys already who have run faster than 9.90.
"So to make the Olympic team you are going to have to run either 9.7 or 9.8 on a particular day.
"Everyone out there wants to be on the team.
"There is no other country in the world where the pressure for an Olympic 100m spot is so high.
"I think I should definitely make the team but making one of the three individual spots is going to be difficult.
"Nesta Carter has run 9.78 and he is still regarded as an outsider.
"But it's all about the performance on the day."
Frater was talking here at an informal press launch ahead of Saturday's (February 18) Aviva Grand Prix at Birmingham's National Indoor Arena at which Britain's 1500m silver medallist Hannah England welcomed members of the Jamaican and US athletics teams who will be using the Second City for their holding camp before the London Olympics.
"Coming to Birmingham to prepare and then going to London to compete is familiar territory for us as a team," said Frater.
"There is a huge Caribbean fanbase here - it's definitely a second home for us.
"We have familiar food. We are definitely in our comfort zone.
"It's not like being in China or Korea where we were not familiar with things.
"Everything that we need in Jamaica – it's just the same in Birmingham and London."
Frater's enthusiasm for the Olympic base was echoed by Danielle Carruthers, whose renewed career in the 100m hurdles saw her take silver at last year's World Championships in a personal best of 12.47 behind Australia's IAAF World Athlete of the Year, Sally Pearson.
"I think this is an ideal spot to prepare," Carruthers said.
"You have the facilities, and everything you need is really close at hand.
"You can walk around here, eat what you want, shop.
"We will feel comfortable here."
While the US team will utilise the outdoor and indoor facilities at the Alexander Stadium, the Jamaicans will be based at Birmingham University.
"Birmingham beat a lot of other cities out of the blocks to get these two teams here," said Ian Stewart, the UKA Head of Endurance running and meet director for the Aviva Grand Prix.
"One of the big bonuses is for the endurance athletes, who have a network of cinder tracks around the canals to run on.
"It's going to be great for the two teams – and fantastic for the city.
"It means there will be lots of media and TV attention here throughout the Games period, which will be a wonderful advertisement for us."
January 2012: Bolt confirms Rome 100m return as he continues London 2012 build-up
January 2012: Bolt to run 100m at Oslo Diamond League meet as he prepares for London 2012
January 2012: Bolt and Jeter are All-Athletics.com athletes of 2011
December 2011: Bolt heads shortlist for Laureus Awards
November 2011: Bolt wants to win four Olympic gold medals at London 2012