2011 Compeed Rome Golden Gala: Bolt says, " I am ready for business", interview courtesy of Compeed Golden Gala, note by Larry Eder

Usain Bolt and Rome DL mascot, photo by PhotoRun.net

Usain Bolt could be elected President of Italy today. The world record holder at 100 meters and 200 meters is opening his season on 26 May and he is highly quotable. Bolt is a different athlete than the one we saw in 2007, or 2008, or 2009. He has a much more lucrative PUMA contracted (rumored to be $25-$29 million extension over four years), a larger following and a sport that needs great stars and competition. On Thursday, Bolt will compete against Asafa Powell and Christophe Lemaitre. Note the questions, and answers from Mr. Bolt in the following press conference notes. Photos are revealing as well, thanks again to our friends at PhotoRun.net, who sent these to me about 3 in the morning, New York time.

Bolt_UsainPC-RomeDL11.jpgUsain Bolt and his race poster, 2011 Compeed Rome Golden Gala, photo by PhotoRun.net

Usain Bolt knows better than anyone, that 2011 is a year when the competition is all here. Powell, Blake, Gay, Lemaitre, and some new surprises. In this sport, one is only as good as their last race. The great leveler is the track. Performances do not lie. The good news, nothing in May matters, but getting one into racing shape. The races get more important as we get going into June, July, and yes, August....

Usain Bolt enjoying the press conference, 24 May 2011, photo by PhotoRun.net

Reigning 100 and 200 metres and 4x100 relay Olympic and World champion and World record holder Usain Bolt spoke to media represantatives two days before the Compeed Golden Gala, the third leg of the Samsung Diamond League which will take place in the Olympic Stadium in Rome on Thursday evening.

Usain Bolt will run for the first time in his career in Italy in the 100 metres race where he will take on former world record holder and three-time Golden Gala winner Asafa Powell and three-time European 100, 200 and 4x100 relay champion Christophe Lemaitre from France.

What do you expect from your first race in Rome ?

Bolt: "I feel in good shape. I am not planning a time because I it's my first
race since my defeat in Stockolm against Tyson Gay. This race is a
stepping-stone on the road to the World Championships in Daegu. I like
Rome and its weather."

Bolt_UsainPC1c-RomeDL11.jpgUsain Bolt, Compeed Rome Golden Gala Press Conference, 24 May 2011, photo by PhotoRun.net

To what degree have your back problems affected your preparation?

Bolt: "I cannot say it's a real problem and it has not affected my preparation.I went to Munich for a check. I am not in perfect shape but I can say that I am in good shape."

Has your preparation changed ? What have you done since your last race in
Stockholm ?

Bolt: "It has not really changed. I put on a lot of work on muscular strength. I have just trained hard since Tyson Gay beat me in Stockholm. Last year was a downtime year for me and I did not take very serious but this season I am back to business."

Do you feel pressure?

Bolt: "It's never pressure but I feel a bit nervous because I have not run since last August but I feel in good shape. I cannot set a time goal. This year my focus is not to set a new world record but to win medals in Daegu"

What do you think of your rivals Powell, Gay and Lemaitre?

Bolt: "Asafa Powell has been one of the top-three sprinters for a long time. He is great and I am looking forward to competing against him. Lemaitre has the potential to become one of the top four sprinters in the world if he
continues to stay focused and work hard. Tyson Gay is really focused. He
does not drink and does not go to parties and he is a wonderful

What is your impression on young sprinter Yohan Blake, who clocked 9.80 in

Bolt:"Blake is a great athlete. We train together and I know that he has put on a lot of work on his start. I think that he can become one of the top
sprinters in the world."

Bolt_UsainPC1a-RomeDL11.jpgBolt A Mania, 24 May 2011, Compeed Rome Golden Gala, Photo by PhotoRun.net

What is your prediction of the UEFA Champion's League final between Manchester United and Barcelona?

Bolt: "I think that Manchester will win 2-1. I am a fan of Manchester.

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