MUCH TO PONDER
Distraught Yohan Blake uncertain about Olympic future after Tokyo flopSaturday, August 07, 2021
TOKYO, Japan — World Champion Yohan Blake has long declared that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics would be his last.
Well, up until last night, that is.
The 31-year-old had hoped to lead Jamaica to another medal with the 4x100m relay team which finished fifth in 37.84 seconds on Friday night. The race was won by Italy in a new National Record 37.50 seconds, with Great Britain second in a season's best 37.51 seconds and Canada third, also in a season's best 37.70 seconds.
During an interview with the Jamaican media inside the mixed zone after the disappointing performance by the team, Blake, for the first time in many moons, appeared uncertain about his Olympics future.
“Good question,” was how he started his response to the inevitable question.
“I feel good in myself, knowing the fact that this is the first Olympics I'm leaving without a medal, this [result] forces me to think about the next one [at France 2024]. I'm not even sure because I have so much to do, but to be honest, I'm not going to complain, I've had a great career, I'm still the second fastest man in history, that's not going to change for now and I give God thanks,” he said.
One thing he was certain about was that he was optimistic about the rest of the season.
“Definitely looking forward for the rest of the season, I still know what I can do and I'm going to work towards coming to some of these Diamond League meets.”
And when specifically asked about his prospects for the Olympic Games in France in 2024, he said: “Hopefully.”
The 2011 100m World Champion suffered a major hamstring injury in 2014 where the muscle actually tore off the bone, and when asked if Canada's 200m champion Andre De Grasse, who had also suffered from severe injuries but rebounded to claim a maiden global title, had been an inspiration to him. Blake sought to make a clear distinction of the two.
“I was in surgery for 10 hours, De Grasse didn't do a surgery for 10 hours and I shouldn't have been out here, that's just a mere miracle,” argued Blake, who added that he was not going to use that as an excuse.
What motivates him now is the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, next year.
Meanwhile, the London 2012 double Olympic Games silver medallist in the 100m and 200m, pointed the finger of blame on the horrendous handoff on the first exchange for the failure of the 4x100m team in the final.
“It was a big, big fumble at the start which caused the mess up on the team, but I tried to pull it back on the third leg and hope (Oblique) Seville could hang on, but I guess it wasn't enough.
“This shows us that we have to do more practice and more changes because most of the guys on the team are new and don't really know each other.”
The second fastest man in history behind Usain Bolt said it was only at the 11th hour that the team got in some exchanges, so there could be an excuse. “It's tough, not going to beat up on no one, it's just the federation (Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association) has to look on this going forward,” he noted.
Blake said the aim of the team was to win and they had a great lane draw only for the poor exchanges to cost the team valuable time. “As I said it was a major delay on the first and second [handovers] and that's why the pace got away from us from there and as you can see it was just a lack of baton passes, the speed and everything is there, but it's just lack of baton exchanges.”