BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Olympic 100m and 200m champion Usain Bolt does not mind sharing the limelight with his Jamaican rival Yohan Blake but thinks competing against him all the time would be boring.
Speaking ahead of Friday’s Diamond League meeting in Brussels, Bolt said the rivalry with Blake was important but should not be exaggerated.
“You play the rivalry down if you always compete against each other,” the six-times Olympic gold medallist told reporters.
“Top athletes should compete maybe two or three times maximum, if you always compete people get bored and they know who’ll win.”
Since the London Games, when they faced off in both the 100m and 200m finals and teamed up to help Jamaica beat the world record and win gold in the 4x100m relay, Bolt and Blake have not raced head-to-head.
They will again alternate events at the Brussels meeting, with Bolt running the 100m and Blake the 200m. For Bolt, 26, it will be the last race of the season.
At the same event in 2011, Blake ran the second-fastest 200m of all time, overshadowing Bolt’s own performance in the 100m on what is recognised as a fast track.
“It was a shocker to everyone, so he was the standout last season. It was an amazing run,” Bolt said.
For Bolt, who trains with Blake and enjoys a close friendship with him, avoiding each other is part of keeping their high-profile showdowns interesting. Acclaim for Blake also helps take the pressure off Bolt.
“Less stress on me is good for me because it’s not always fun. Less attention is sometimes okay for me”, he said.
On Friday evening, Bolt is hoping to set a fast time for the 100m, after running 9.63 seconds in London - an Olympic record and the second-fastest time ever.
“This is a fast track without a doubt. I don’t think it’ll be hard setting a fast time,” he said.
Bolt, who aims to stay in the sport to compete in the Rio Games of 2016, said there were still records left for him to set, especially in the 200m.
“Even if the record of 100 metres doesn’t go any further, in 200 metres I definitely want to see how far I can take it,” adding that he would like to run under 19 seconds.
That depends on keeping in shape, after battling several minor injuries in recent years.
“In ‘08 I had a great season with no problems, in ‘09 no problems, (but) after that it was back and forth. If I get a good season I definitely think I can break world records without a doubt,” he said.
Bolt said he would take a break of about six weeks after the Brussels event, but would not say when he would return to Jamaica as he expected cheering crowds to await him.
“Jamaican fans don’t get excited a lot so when they do... it’s different from Europe. It’s scary going home,” he said, adding that he would avoid the public eye as much as possible.
“We got to keep telling people that it’s vacation. It’s just to have fun and to relax, probably go tanning.”
Editing by Ed Osmond