Lightning just struck twice for Usain Bolt.
After feeling pain in the first round of Jamaica’s Olympic trials qualifying in Thursday’s 100m, the world's fastest man's fears came true yesterday after Bolt won his semi-final heat yesterday, felt discomfort again and saw medical staff who diagnosed the grade 1 tear in his left hamstring, which saw him withdraw from the contest and leave a real question mark over his place in Rio.
Ever the optimist, Bolt Tweeted to assure fans he still has a good chance of making it to the party, with the 29-year-old claiming he would “seek treatment immediately and hope to show fitness at the London Anniversary Games on July 22 to earn selection for the Olympic Games in Rio.”
His form was never in doubt: three weeks ago, Bolt ran the second-fastest time in the world this year, clocking 9.88 in the 100m at a meet in Jamaica, but this is a hammer blow for both fans and officials alike, as well as for his national team.
For the Olympic committee – not to mention its marketing team - the potential absence of the Six-time Olympic gold medallist and what he brings to the event doesn't bear thinking about, especially when so many major sports stars including Rory McIlory have already announced they’ll miss the finals to avoid the Zika virus.
And while most news reports claimed it was business as usual for Team Jamaica as Yohan ‘The Beast’ Blake, the silver medalist back at London 2012, won the 100m on Friday, clocking an impressive 9.95, ShortList’s man on the ground Andrew Dickens - the first UK journalist to break the Bolt news - reveals the absence of Bolt caused a huge bust up in the stadium:
"The officials didn't actually announce it on the PA system, acting as if Bolt was still running, right until they introduced the athletes. Then they just skipped his lane. When the race did get underway there was a false start. Blake was disqualified, even though the big screen showed clear movement from Jason Livermore, though the false start system is triggered by pressure on the starting blocks. The athletes protested, the crowd started booing and I saw one gentleman in a yellow top - unsure if he was a coach or fan - try to throw a punch at an official. He was then dragged away by security, but the crowd was still livid. Eventually the officials reconvened and, possibly in the interests of peace, rescinded the red card. Blake then of course won, qualifying for Rio. It was all very dramatic."
Earlier in the evening, Dickens also managed to get this video of Bolt getting out of the traps in a race that would lead to his untimely exit:
Let's pray Bolt's race isn't already run.