Beauty and the Beast: Yohan Blake cannot wait to take on Usain Bolt Photo: GETTY IMAGES
It may be his first experience of an Olympic Games but Yohan Blake was more likely to be watching TV coverage of the Clydesdale Bank 40 match between Nottinghamshire and Surrey on Wednesday than dashing across the Olympic Park to take in the swimming or the basketball.
The 22-year-old Jamaican, a die-hard cricket fan, is under orders from his coach, Glen Mills, not to get distracted by the sporting jamboree going on around him, and he has been spending much of his spare time in his single room in the athletes’ village trying to banish all thoughts about the Olympics and his eagerly anticipated sprint showdown on Sunday.
Beast-mode? It is a reference to his nickname, ‘The Beast’, which was bestowed on him by Usain Bolt, his friend and training partner, in recognition of his ferocious work ethic at the Racers Track Club in Kingston.
The moniker has stuck to such an extent that the word ‘Beast’ is printed on the tongues of the Adidas running spikes that Blake will be wearing when he goes to the start-line in the Olympic stadium this weekend.
Tyson Gay, who had the best view of Bolt’s world record-breaking victory at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin when he finished just behind him in a United States record, does not accept that the fastest man in history is vulnerable.
“This guy has proved that he can run 9.5, 9.6 and 9.7 several times as well, so he’s the only guy that’s been where we’ve never been,” said Gay. “I feel he still has to be one of the favourites. He’s the champion and he’s competed at this level.”