Usain Bolt targets sub-19s 200m - but could he really do it?
He has said it before, but now he's said it again: Usain Bolt believes he can run 200, in under 19 seconds.
The Jamaican sprinter set the current 200m record of 19.19 seconds in 2009, shaving 0.11 off his own previous record of 19.30 from the previous year.
Before Bolt, the record had been 19.32, set by Michael Johnson at the 1996 Olympics; Johnson had only two months beforehand beaten the 17-year-old record of Italy's Pietro Mennea.
The fact that the 200m world record has taken such infrequent leaps does not appear to deter Bolt, however.
"I really want to run under 19 seconds,” Bolt told the official Rio Olympics website.
“It’s one of my major goals. I think it’s one of the toughest ones, because it’s going to be hard to find the right day and sometime the perfect race to get this.
Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates winning the Men's 200m Final in a world record time at at Beijing's National Stadium.PA Photos
Bolt endured a tough season, being constantly overshadowed by Justin Gatlin of the USA - and indeed he was written off by many before finding what it took to beat Gatlin at both 100m and 200m in the World Championships in Beijing.
And Bolt believes that he will continue that momentum into next season, and make it his best yet.
“Justin Gatlin says he’s coming, but for me, I’m much more focused,” Bolt said.
“I’m starting the season in much better shape than I did the last one, so it is only forward from here.”
As great as it would be to believe that Bolt can pull off such an incredible feat as a sub-19 second 200m, there is simply nothing to suggest that he can do so. It's now six years since he ran a personal best at either 100m or 200m, and while some sprinters - such as Linford Christie - peak in their thirties, it now seems pretty clear that Bolt's best days are in the past. He simply doesn't have the leg speed he once did and will be do well to win gold - let alone reach new levels of brilliance.