Darren Campbell: Usain Bolt is superhuman but Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay have to believe they can beat him
By Darren Campbell
25 May 2011
It's round three of the Diamond League in Rome on Thursday and our first chance to see Usain Bolt in action this season.
Superhuman: Usain Bolt trains in Rome ahead of the Thursday's Diamond League meeting Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Bolt, the Olympic champion and triple world record-holder, will be competing against fellow Jamaican and former world record-holder Asafa Powell in a race that will hopefully see Bolt return to form.
This will be his first 100 metres since that rare defeat at the hands of American Tyson Gay in Stockholm last August which ended a two-year unbeaten streak.
Bolt then missed remainder of the season with Achilles problems and a back injury so it will be exciting to see him on the track again.
So who can possibly beat him? Can we look really look beyond Powell and Gay?
Powell is a little fragile when it comes to major championships and I think he still has a mental block with regards to beating Bolt and Gay.
It's obviously disappointing for him not to have defeated them and the nerves may have got to him.
As for Gay, I honesty believe if he can get it right he can challenge Bolt but it's essential that he puts him under pressure early in the race. He has to start consistently fast every single time.
The reality is, as a sprinter going into a competition, you've got to put yourself in the frame of mind that if Bolt does make a mistake you can jump all over him. On any given day anything is possible.
Conversely you have to be realistic. If he's goes out and runs his best you're simply not going to beat him.
And what of the younger generation coming through, namely European champion Christophe Lemaître and the likes of Jamaica's Yohan Blake?
The improvements they have made over the last couple of seasons have been fantastic but to actually imagine them challenging for major honours in the next two years is hard.
We are, after all, talking about challenging someone who is superhuman.
And what of the Diamond League itself?
Speaking from experience, I know that these races are useful for testing yourself against the best in the world.
You know that you're going to be up against a quality field; athletes who will be making, at the very least, semi-finals of major championships later in the season.
I always used these events as a place where I shouldn't be afraid to make a mistake. The key to success in a major meet is to make no mistakes at all, so the athletes will want any screw-ups to be in the Diamond League and not the World Championships or the Olympics.
Whatever happens at the Stadio Olimpico tomorrow, this season is already shaping up to be a good one.
Darren Campbell is an Aviva Ambassador. Aviva has been supporting British athletes since 1999. For more info go to www.aviva.co.uk/athletics