Usain Bolt ends season, pulls out of Van Damme with focus already on 2016 Olympics

By Raf Casert


BRUSSELS _ With three more gold medals in the bag and his superiority proven beyond doubt, Usain Bolt declared his season over on Monday.

The Jamaican pulled out of Friday’s Van Damme Memorial, unwilling to risk any injury problems that might compromise his preparations for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Games, where he will seek a third Olympic sprint treble in a row.

“I am already thinking about next year and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio,” he said in a statement.

After winning three gold medals at the world championships in Beijing, Bolt was supposed to focus on the season’s top time in the 200 metres at the Diamond League meet in Brussels. The King Baudouin Stadium has extra wide curves that half-lap racers love and Bolt has never profited fully from the track facilities. Friday would have been the ideal opportunity.

Bolt has the world record of 19.19 seconds, but his best time at the Van Damme only stands at 19.57. In comparison, his teammate Yohan Blake ran the second fastest half lap there by clocking 19.26.

But after two seasons of injuries and a drawn-out recovery, Bolt now knows the preparations for a big event like the Olympics starts a year in advance. The 29-year-old Bolt said in a statement he was “happy to end the season without any injuries and ready to go for 2016.”

And Brussels meet organizer Wilfried Meert said in a statement that “Bolt felt tired after Beijing and also was troubled by his left leg, with a pain radiating from his hip.”

Bolt beat Justin Gatlin both in the 100 and 200 metres in Beijing before anchoring Jamaica to gold in the 4×100 relay.

With Bolt a no-show, Gatlin will now run both sprints in Brussels.

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