DAEGU, South Korea — Usain Bolt will only need about 20 seconds to show the world he is lightning fast and not just a little jumpy.
The Jamaican sprinter said in a statement Monday that he was disappointed with his false start in the 100 meters, which disqualified him from the world championship final.
“I was feeling great through the rounds and was ready to run fast in the final,” said Bolt, who has become the face of track and field since setting world records in both the 100 and 200 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. “I worked very hard to get ready for this championships and things were looking good.”
Bolt was looking to defend his world titles in both the 100 and 200 in Daegu. Two years ago in Berlin, he broke both his world records, running 9.58 in the 100 and 19.19 in the 200.
Setting another record in the 200 is still possible for the tall Jamaican, who has shown more of his showboating personality on the track in South Korea. The heats are on Friday ahead of Saturday’s final.
“I have to move on now as there is no point to dwell on the past,” said Bolt, who also congratulated Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake for winning the 100 world title in his absence. “I have a few days to refocus and get ready for the 200 meters on Friday. After this I have the 4×100-meter and a few other races before the end of the season.
“I know that I am now in good shape and will focus on running well in the 200 meters.”
Bolt was disqualified for jumping the gun in Sunday’s 100 final. In years past, being the first to false start would have only given him a warning, but the IAAF changed the rule in 2010 to eliminate any cautions.
The worlds in Daegu are the first major championships to enforce the rule, and they caught the sport’s biggest star in the event’s marquee race.
“The rules are there. They’re the same for everyone,” IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said. “Usain Bolt of course is a fabulous performer. He’s a star athlete. But we have to be very careful not to stray into the world of show business where we say, ‘We have a star. The star must be there. The star must perform.'”
Although the world was forced to watch the 100-meter final without the biggest name, former Olympic champion hurdler Allen Johnson said only Bolt was to blame.
“I hate to sound a little harsh, but it’s his fault,” Johnson said. “I tend to think, and I’ve always thought, even when I was competing, the people who false started showed me that they were the ones who weren’t ready.
“Bolt is by far the fastest man ever, but I think yesterday he showed all of us that he wasn’t in top form. He wasn’t ready.”
The IAAF Council is scheduled to meet on Sunday, the final day of the nine-day championships, and the issue of the false start rule could come up. The council has the power to change the rule once again.
“The main point is that the rule exists,” Davies said. “It’s the same for everyone.”
But by next week, the world may see if the “Bolt Factor” has any say in what happens to the rule for next year’s London Olympics.