Bolt, Powell in 100 Showdown in Chilly Stockholm

July 21, 2008 10:39:12 AM PDT
Usain Bolt is worried chilly weather could slow him in the rematch between the world's fastest men at the DN Galan athletics meet. When he faces Asafa Powell in the 100 meters on Tuesday, the temperature by race time is expected to dip to 57 degrees.

"It's cold for me, I definitely prefer to run in warmer weather," said Bolt, the world-record holder in the 100. "I'm from tropical Jamaica. I hope the weather changes."

A dozen sprinters in the field have personal bests under 10 seconds in the 100. Bolt set the world record of 9.72 seconds in New York on May 31, breaking Powell's mark of 9.74. They last met during the Jamaica Olympic trials in late June. Both qualified for the Beijing Games.

Others in the 100 field include Derrick Atkins of the Bahamas, who finished third behind American Tyson Gay and Powell in last year's World Championships, and defending Olympic 200 champion Shawn Crawford of the United States.

Powell is trying for a third straight victory at Stockholm's Olympic Stadium, where 83 world records - more than any other site in the world - have been broken since 1912.

Last year, Powell won the 100 at the DN Galan in 10.04. In 2006, he set the stadium record of 9.86.

Bolt hopes to break that mark.

"It would be nice to get a diamond," he said of the 1-carat reward worth $10,000 for any athlete who sets a stadium record.

Bolt arrived three days ahead of the meet and had no complaints when he worked out for the first time.

"The weather was good," he said. "I did some starts on another track."

The start is something he is trying to improve.

"My start and my first 35 meters, if there are any improvements to make, it's there," Bolt said.

The race Tuesday will be only the sixth 100 for the 21-year-old Bolt, whose coach Glen Mills had him focus on the 200 and 400 early in his career.

The 6-foot-5 Bolt, one of the tallest sprinters, competed only one other time at Olympic Stadium.

"I ran in a relay two years ago, but this is my first individual race here," he said. "The track is good. I'm looking forward to it."

Olympic and world champion Jeremy Wariner of the United States, who earned a diamond when he broke the stadium record in the 400 last year, heads the field in the one-lap race.

Among other Olympic champions competing are Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia (women's pole vault) and Swedes Christian Olsson (men's triple jump), Stefan Holm (men's high jump) and Carolina Kluft (heptathlon).

Olsson is making a comeback after a long break from a hamstring injury. Kluft, who has quit the heptathlon, will compete in the long jump.