LONDON, England — Sprinter Aleen Bailey has joined the debate over which Jamaican will win the men's 100m title at the London Olympic Games but has thrown a new twist in the predictions.
The debate has raged on in sports circles for more than a month now as to which of the two will win the event set to be run on August 5 in the Olympic stadium after Yohan Blake, the IAAF World Championships 100m gold medallist beat double world record holder Usain Bolt in both the 100m and 200m at the Jamaica National Championships.
"Both Usain (Bolt) and Yohan (Blake) are amazing individuals and if they show up in their top form, the Olympic organisers might have to hand out two gold medals," she told the Jamaica Observer in an interview yesterday.
Bailey, who is in London, expressed her disappointment in not making the team to the Olympics. However, she said because of her longer association with Bolt, she was inclined to give him the edge, but she would not venture into predicting an overall medal haul by the Jamaican team.
The veteran, who has played a pivotal role in several Jamaican teams, echoed male team captain Michael Frater's advise that the athletes should "relax" and enjoy the competition.
"Don't take it too seriously," she advised, "remember when you just started running and was having fun." She said one of the reasons why Bolt and Blake were able to perform so well at the highest stage was that they were able to relax in competition.
She said she has been in touch with two of the athletes on the Olympic team — 200m runner Warren Weir, whom she describes as "a little brother", and triple jumper Kimberly Williams — and she added that if she was to advise any of the athletes it would be to tell them to keep focused on their preparations and not to allow any outside influences to throw them off.
"Most persons not involved in track and field can't understand what we go through," she told the Observer.
Bailey said while the high point of her season was equalling her personal best 11.04 seconds in the 100m in the semi-finals at the National Trials after first running that fast eight years ago, not making the team was a big letdown. "It was very disappointing as we work so hard for this."
The former Vere Technical athlete who is being coached by former St Jago and national junior representative Davion Spence, who she started working with in March this year, said she also ran fast in the indoor season, setting personal bests at both the 55m and 60m races with 6.79 seconds and 7.18 seconds, respectively.
Nonetheless, Bailey is still working on her 200m event, which she describes as her favourite.
Bailey, who spoke to the Observer after completing a training session yesterday, has been a fixture on the European circuit this season and says she has a number of events lined up to compete in after the Olympics.