KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — An early wake-up call, a quick run and a nap. Could've been a typical Saturday morning for almost anyone in Jamaica, though for Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt, this was anything but typical.
Less than 12 hours after Blake stunned the world-record holder in the final of the 100 meters at Jamaican Olympic trials, the sprinters returned to National Stadium for a 9 a.m. start for 200-meter qualifying heats.
Both made it through their rounds easily — two of the world's fastest men huffing and puffing in near silence, in front of an audience of about 200 fans and stadium workers, on a breezy morning that felt as surreal as the previous night was electric.
Bolt won his heat in 21.21 seconds into a headwind. Rushing out of the stadium, he fielded one question: Are you going back to bed?
"Of course, man," he said.
Blake could have walked through his race because there were only four runners and all four were guaranteed to make it through. He ran, but at a leisurely pace — 21.43 seconds, also into the breeze. He said he hadn't yet seen the Saturday morning headlines in the Kingston newspapers, proclaiming his upset in big, boldface type.
Blake ran a personal-best 9.75 seconds to beat Bolt by .11 on Friday night, an equation-changing upset that was still reverberating around Kingston and the world the next morning.
Blake is the defending world champion, but that victory last year came after Bolt was disqualified for a false start. This was their first race against each other since then.
Was Blake surprised that everyone was surprised?
"I think everybody was, but I was not," he said.
Did he see it coming?
"Yeah. What can I say?"
The men run again Saturday night in the 200 semifinals, with the final and another potential showdown scheduled for Sunday evening.
Bolt holds the world record in the 200 at 19.19 seconds, but Blake has the second-best time ever recorded at 19.26. Many people thought the 200 might be more competitive than the 100, where Bolt came into the week with a world record of 9.58 seconds, while Blake had never run faster than 9.82.
But that math changed on a stunner of an evening in Kingston, an evening that resets the story line for their anticipated rematch in the 100, five weeks from now at the Olympics in London.
Blake's 9.75 beat both the stadium record and Bolt's world-best 2012 time by .01 seconds.
As much as the numbers, though, it was all that daylight between Blake and Bolt at the finish line that told this story. Blake got in front of Bolt early and had more of a tussle on his hands reining in Asafa Powell, who started best but finished third. As he always does, Bolt rallied at the end, leaning at the line — not for the win, but to nudge out Powell for second.
Bolt was the victim of not one, but two terrible starts on Friday. In the semifinal, he was in dead last through the first 40 meters and as far back as sixth with 20 to go before pulling out a .01-second win over Michael Frater.
The final was better, but only a little bit, and for the next month, there will be questions about how much last year's false start at world championships may have spooked The World's Fastest Man.
He has not said much this week.
For obvious reasons, Blake has been a bit chattier.
When Saturday's short trip around the track was over, Blake said it wasn't hard coming back on such a short turnaround after such a big win.
"No. Just refocus again and know that it's not finished until the Olympics," he said.
His goals for the 200 finals, he insists, are modest.
"Just make the team," he said. "Nothing really big. We'll see what happens."
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- Yohan Blake
- Usain Bolt