Olympics

Blake aims to extend run of success against Bolt

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LONDON (AP)

When Yohan Blake sprinted to the most recent major 100-meter title, at last year's world championships, Usain Bolt was banished from the starting blocks because of a false start.

When Blake beat the world-record holder in the 100 and 200 at the Jamaican trials for the London Olympics, Bolt attributed poor-as-can-be starts in both finals to hamstring problems connected to a bad back.

Leave such details to others. As Blake put it Wednesday: ''A win is a win.''

''I know what I can do, even though Usain Bolt wasn't at his best,'' Blake added, wraparound sunglasses perched on his forehead. ''I really take confidence in everything that I do, so I'm bringing it to London.''

And he's anticipating more victories.

In a video shown before his promotional appearance Wednesday for shoe sponsor Adidas, Blake holds up three fingers and says, ''Three gold, man.''

To fulfill that goal in London, where the 100 heats begin Saturday, Blake will have to upstage teammate, training partner and pal Bolt yet again.

''I'm not really focused on Usain,'' Blake insisted. ''I'm just focused on good execution and a good race.''

That might very well be true.

Everyone else, of course, IS focused on Bolt.

That's because Bolt is the reigning Olympic champion in the 100, 200 and 400-meter relay - and he won each of those races in unprecedented times four years ago in Beijing.

So question after question posed to Blake involved his more-accomplished countryman.

Do you discount your two victories at the Jamaican trials because Bolt wasn't 100 percent fit?

Can you give one reason why you will beat Bolt in the 100?

What's your message to Bolt?

If you could lock Bolt in the locker room for one final, would it be the 100 or 200?

For the record, Blake declined to entertain that last query.

''We're just keeping our good chemistry going on into the Olympics, you know, but when we are lining up on the line, it's going to be different. It's going to all be business, each man to their self,'' Blake said.

In 2008, he was back home in Jamaica, watching Bolt's breakout performance on television.

This time around, Blake will be making his Olympic debut.

''One thing I really hate is (talk) about experience. Experience for me doesn't work. Everybody talking about 'experience this' and 'experience that.' For me, it's all about going out there and keeping focused and getting the job done. It's not about beating Usain,'' Blake said. ''On the day, everybody wants the gold. To get the gold, you have to win, right?''

Working together under coach Glen Mills - Blake calls him a guru - they push each other in practice. They want to beat each other in real races. Away from the stadium, though, they get along well.

Blake's intensity when they train prompted Bolt to dub his buddy ''The Beast,'' a nickname stitched onto the tongue of Blake's racing spikes for London.

''We always train together. I know Yohan, he knows me,'' Bolt said. ''We know each other's strengths and weaknesses.''

One past 100-meter Olympic champion, Maurice Greene, is picking Blake to win the dash this weekend.

Greene wonders whether Bolt can overcome the technical issues that have plagued the opening segment of his 100 of late.

''Don't get me wrong, Bolt can come out here and run something phenomenal. He is capable of that. He has done that before. It is possible,'' Greene said. ''But he's nowhere near the shape he was in 2008 in China. He's not that same guy. For the last two years, he's been having a lot of technical problems.''

As for Bolt himself, he insists his back is now fine.

He also decided - at Mills' urging - that the best approach is not to fret about whatever technical issues he might have.

Bolt figures he needs to set that all aside and let his 6-foot-5 frame carry him past Blake and all other challengers, such as Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin of the U.S., and Asafa Powell of Jamaica.

''I've learned not to worry about the start anymore. I've sat down and talked with my coach and we have come up with the conclusion that back in the days I was never a good starter. I'm never going to be a great starter. So I should get past that and focus on just running,'' Bolt said. ''I'm just focusing on getting an average start and getting running and doing what I do best.''

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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AP Sports Writers Pat Graham and Gerald Imray contributed to this report.

Tagged: Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake

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