LONDON, England — It is difficult to get away from the Blake vs Bolt men's 100m title debate at the Olympic Games or, for that matter, anywhere in sporting circles this past month.
The 22-year-old Yohan Blake became the youngest man ever to win the IAAF World Championships title last year in Daegu, South Korea but for most people, he only won because defending champion and double World Record holder Usain Bolt had been disqualified after false-starting.
Things took a dramatic change in June at the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Senior Trials in Jamaica when Blake in the form of his life, handed Bolt losses in both the 100m and the 200m, igniting the sporting world's biggest debate — who will win the Olympic Games men's 100m?
The IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain was not spared as journalists and fans alike wanted to know who would win.
The intensity rose at the pre-Olympic camp in Birmingham and has taken on fever pitch here in London as the start of the competition drew closer.
Journalists covering events other than track and field, officials and even volunteers had their questions and more often than not their opinions on who would win and why.
Jamaican journalists have been hounded for information from just about every corner of the globe and journalists from nations not linked to world-class sprinting like Bangladesh and Norway have joined the frenzy. Nearly 400 journalists turned out for the JOA/Puma press conference in east London a week ago and the topic rarely strayed from the mouthwatering prospect of the Blake v Bolt match-up, even with former World Record holder Asafa Powell sitting right there.
At an Adidas press conference held in Stratford, just minutes away from where the drama will play out over two days, August 4 and 5, half the approximately 150 journalists left after they grilled Blake for about 30 minutes and then more than half of those who stayed behind for the press conference with two-time Olympic 200m defending champion Veronica Campbell Brown wanted to know her thoughts on the Blake v Bolt match-up.
That aside, Campbell Brown is a headliner in her own right, chasing history and has a collection of medals greater than that of Bolt, Blake and Powell combined, even with the men's relay medals thrown in.
She did, however, offered two responses. “Both are two great athletes and very talented... the execution of the first and middle phases of the race will make the difference,” said the darling of Jamaica’s women’s track and field.
The Jamaican media was not spared either and the Observer reporter had to direct requests to other members of the Jamaican media as reporters from Poland, Norway, England, Japan, France and some who did not bother identifying themselves wanted to get inside information.
One elder journalist with a strong eastern European accent who never ever bother asking if he could record what he was asking, wanted to know “So who is Yohan's girl?”
Maybe the silence and the stony look gave him his answer, so he moved on.