Yohan Blake: Why the 200-Meter Race Is His to Lose

Ryan HeidrichCorrespondent IIAugust 8, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 07:  Yohan Blake of Jamaica reacts after competing in the Men's 200m Round 1 Heats on Day 11 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 7, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Yohan Blake came to London with a ton of high expectations. After defeating Usain Bolt in both the 100-meter and the 200-meter events at the Jamaican Olympic Trials, people were left wondering if it was time for a new sprint king.

The two training partners set the track on fire with the 100-meter final, in which Bolt avenged the loss at the Trials to win gold. Blake, who finished second to Bolt, ran a strong race but fell just short of running with Bolt.

Blake will get one more shot at Bolt this Olympics in the 200-meter race, which is Blake’s last hope if he wants to win individual gold in London.

Blake has run the 200-meter extremely well in the past year. He ran the second fastest time in history when he ran a 19.26 seconds in Brussels. He ran a solid 200-meter at the Jamaican Trials when he recorded a time of 19.80 seconds, which was the same event that Bolt was timed at 19.83 seconds.

Bolt is the favorite when it comes to the 200-meter. It is surprising to many people but the 200-meter is actually Bolt’s stronger event. Bolt is much faster down the stretch than coming out of the blocks and the 200-meter gives him more time to reach his top speed.

Despite Bolt being the favorite to win another Olympic Gold, this race is actually Blake’s to lose. He has put in far too much time and energy to prepare himself to not run the fastest 200-meter he can.

Blake will need to run a complete race but he is fully capable of doing that. When Blake ran 19.26 in Brussels, he got off to one of the worst starts possible. If he could have gotten off to even a decent start, he would have broken Bolt’s 200-meter world record.

The major advantage that Blake holds over every other competitor is the fact that he does not fear Bolt. Bolt holds this mental advantage over other racers because they all know that he is better than them. It is similar to what Tiger Woods had back when other golfers would wilt under the pressure of  playing Sunday golf with him.

Since Bolt and Blake are such close friends and they train together, Blake is not afraid of what Bolt can do. He won’t have any pressure when he takes to the blocks and looks over and sees Bolt next to him.

Blake told reporters:

I’m not really focusing on beating him, I’m concentrating on running my race. My plan is just to execute. I’m going great and I’ve already got a silver medal.

If Blake can improve his start and close the same way that he did in Brussels, he will shock the world and beat the most popular sprinter of all time.

Another advantage Blake has over Bolt is history. No sprinter has ever won back-to-back golds in the 200-meter. Of course, Bolt is fully capable of doing this, but there have been other world-class sprinters who have fallen short of winning two-straight gold medals in the 200-meter.

The 100-meter was just an appetizer; the 200-meter gives sprinters the ability to reach full speed.

It actually is the true test to see who the fastest man in the world is. The 100-meter is too dependent on the start while the 200-meter allows sprinters to reach full speed and eliminate the slower competitors.

When the 200-meter finals begin, all attention will be on the two training partners from Jamaica. It will come down to Bolt and Blake running down the stretch with fellow runners in their dust. If Blake can get out of the blocks well and then close the way he showed that he was capable of in Brussels, it would not be surprising to see Yohan Blake standing on top of the medal podium with a gold medal around his neck.