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Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Saturday, 18 July 2009 16:23 UK

Superstar Bolt in dazzling form

Usain Bolt celebrates his win in Paris with fans
Bolt was made to feel at home by the large number of Jamaican fans in Paris

Sonja McLaughlan
By Sonja McLaughlan
BBC Sport in Paris

As Usain Bolt walked towards me for an interview, he asked me what his reaction time had been.

He knew he'd got a slow start and wanted to know exactly how bad it had been.

In fact, only former world champion, Kim Collins, was slower out of the blocks than the world's fastest man.

Yet in the blink of an eye, Bolt burst ahead, tearing up the track in only the way he can to win the 100m at the Paris Golden League meeting with another dazzling performance.

Bolt is fast becoming the sort of sports star who only comes along once in a lifetime

Sonja McLaughlan

Arriving at the Stade de France you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd landed in Bolt's home town, such was the reggae vibe in the stadium.

Dancers dressed in the yellow and green of Jamaica swayed to the Caribbean rhythm and the atmosphere was more like a rock concert as Bolt was introduced to the crowd.

The sport knows it's got a superstar in its midst and Bolt is box office.

The marketing men in Paris weren't missing a trick and who can blame athletics for embracing him as it aims to rehabilitate itself in the wake of one drugs scandal after another.

Jeremy Wariner, Sanya Richards, and Kenenisa Bekele all came and went - Richards running under 50 seconds for a record breaking 37th time - but they were merely the warm-up act for the main event.

606: DEBATE
Speedy G2012

As the clock ticked towards 2040 BST and the men's 100m, the atmosphere crackled with anticipation and I could feel my own heart rate rise.

The rain started to fall, but Bolt ran a fast 200m through puddles in Lausanne, so there wasn't too much concern.

Then the gun went bang and Bolt just sat there, or so it felt.

"I need to work on my start," he said after the race. "It's really poor."

Yet he won in majestic fashion in a time of 9.79, the second fastest time in the world this year. Only Tyson Gay has run fractionally quicker.

"You feel like you're flying," he said when I asked him exactly what it feels like to run so fast.

It's all bubbling up to be quite some showdown between Bolt and Gay at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Berlin next month, where the Jamaican is adamant he'll win the blue riband event.

"It's definitely going to be me," he said, and it's hard to argue with that point of view.

Does anybody think Bolt can be beaten?

After all, who would have said Tiger Woods would miss the cut at the Open Championship?

But just imagine what Bolt might do to his own world record if he gets that start sorted out.

"I've got a lot of time to work on it," he said.

He's got exactly a month to be precise before the start of the World Championships in Germany.

Before that he runs over 100m at Crystal Palace on Friday night and you can hear the commentary on Radio 5 Live at 2017 BST.

It was mayhem in the interview area in Paris with dozens of journalists and TV crews jostling to interview one man and it'll be the same in London.

Like Tiger Woods and Roger Federer, Usain Bolt is fast becoming the sort of sports star who only comes along once in a lifetime.

Watch and enjoy, while you can.



see also
Bolt cruises to emphatic 100m win
17 Jul 09 |  Athletics
Williamson storms to 100m crown
11 Jul 09 |  Athletics
Olympic profile: Simeon Williamson
07 Aug 08 |  Newsbeat
Bolt surges to gold in new record
16 Aug 08 |  Athletics
Williamson ready for Olympic bow
15 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics


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