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Friday, November 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Olympic sprints shaping up as Jamaican showdowns

By Pat Graham Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, England – Usain Bolt refuses to line up against his good friend Wallace Spearmon in a race.

No way and under no circumstances.

To hear Spearmon tell it, the Jamaican sensation is downright scared and doesn’t think he stands a chance because the American simply has too much power.

Horsepower, that is.

The two sprinters have similar Nissan GT-R sports cars, but Bolt won’t speed down a runway against Spearmon’s vehicle – ever.

“Just won’t race,” said Spearmon, whose car tops out at about 230 mph. “He’s seen my car and already backed out. That’s one race I know I can beat him at.”

On the track, it’s a completely different story.

When Bolt is healthy, there are few who can keep up with him. And while he hardly enters the London Games as the Bolt who was so dominant four years ago, he is still the reigning Olympic champion in the 100 and 200 meters. He’s also still the world-record holder in both events.

That can’t be overlooked or stressed enough, even with the emergence of Bolt’s training partner, Yohan Blake.

“Usain has been so dominant that when he’s not, we see blood in the water,” said sprinter Doc Patton, who’s in the U.S. relay pool. “We say, ‘Oh, he’s vulnerable. Oh, he can be beat.’ He’s still the champ.”

Spearmon is one of Bolt’s closest friends and hasn’t spoken to him in nearly two weeks.

Not that he’s particularly trying all that hard. Spearmon figures he will see him in the 200. That’s soon enough.

“I’ve got one person to worry about,” Spearmon said. “That’s the only person who can determine what happens.”

Many are thinking the 100 and 200 are shaping up to be a two-Jamaican showdown. Blake or Bolt. Bolt or Blake. Choose your side.

Blake, 22, has the fastest time in the world this season in both sprint events, with Bolt close behind.

If the Jamaican trials were an indication, Blake is setting himself up to steal the show in London as he beat Bolt in both events.

Just don’t read too much into it, cautioned Spearmon.

“I know he hasn’t lost in a while so he has this misperception that he’s invincible,” Spearmon said. “But he’s the first person to tell you that even he can lose a race – and he did. I don’t think it affects his chances at all. I think it gave Blake some confidence. But I think Bolt will be all right.”

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