Why Bolt won't sweat over loss

On Thursday at Rome's Olympic stadium, following his surprise 100m loss to Justin Gatlin in the Golden Gala, Usain Bolt's trademark 'lightning bolt' pose was replaced by a shrug of the shoulders. The loss, only the fifth in Bolt's professional career, marked further disappointment in a difficult season. Last month, coming back from a hamstring injury, he had won his first race of the season with an underwhelming timing of 10.09s.

But before you ask if this is the end of the road for the six-time Olympic gold medallist, remember that he has been here before. Last year, with a little more than a month to go for the Olympics, Bolt was beaten in both the 100m and the 200m at the Jamaican trials. In London, he won both events, setting the Olympic record in the 100m.

Then as now, Bolt was unperturbed. He said that if his coach wasn't worried, he wasn't worried. And so far Glen Mills hasn't said anything of Bolt who, at 26, has a long time left on the throne.

Both Bolt and Gatlin are strong end-of-the-race runners, with the Jamaican arguably better. This means that if Bolt were in the lead or even level with Gatlin at around the 60m mark, he should be able to power to victory.

At Rome, it was Gatlin who had the lead at that point, with Bolt visibly tightening halfway into the race. Bolt, despite a great start (he had the best reaction time in the field), was unable to find any momentum in the drive phase.

The drive phase, which lasts until around 25m, is where sprinters stay low and accelerate before reaching peak velocity. Bolt, still feeling his way back after his hamstring problems, was unable to get any momentum going. Sprinters say this isn't just a matter of being unwilling to risk a muscle so early after an injury.

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