Yohan Blake does not run with the mindset of breaking records; he races to win. The defending 100m World champion arrived in New York Thursday for an important date later today: the 2012 Adidas Grand Prix, where he will contest the 100m, the premier Diamond League circuit event. This meet will gauge his progress heading into the Jamaica National Trials in three weeks.
Blake is no stranger to the Big Apple. He has competed here both as a schoolboy and as a professional athlete. However, New Yorkers have not seen him since he catapulted himself into the spotlight with two scintillating performances in 2011 – his World Championships 9.92secs 100m triumph into a 1.4 mps headwind, and a 200m come-from behind victory in Brussels less than a month later, in which he raced to a staggering 19.26secs, the second fastest time in history.
Blake at a pre-event press
Now, while the 22-yr-old star is not focusing on records, the burning question on the minds of many is whether he can erase the meet record, a former world record, established by his friend and training partner, Usain Bolt on the same track in 2008, while defeating the USA’s Tyson Gay.
Is a new meet record too ambitious at this time? Last season, he clocked a personal best of 9.82 with zero wind and three months later repeated that PB with a 0.1 wind reading. This year, he opened the season in April with 9.90 (+1.6w) and in May clocked 9.84 (0.5w) without being pressed. The truth is Blake does not need to be pressed or pushed by anyone, for he motivates himself; he is fearless.
Like his races this season, the self-described “take-off-the-shelf” sprinter will run without the challenge of a current major competitor – Bolt, Powell or Gatlin – but that does not lessen the intensity or the quest or possibility of a stellar run.
Blake already has speed, talent and focus, and is ready. Therefore, the deciding factors for a record-breaking performance are favorable wind, perfect weather condition. With a high of 79ºF in the forecast for New York and a 40 percent chance of afternoon thunder storms, the possibility seems high. A tailwind between 1mps and 2 mps would be ideal, and a brief shower before the race would be a bonus, since a wet track could enhance the speed. If all three come together, Blake could break Bolt’s four-year-old meet reco
and send the Icahn crowd into total frenzy.