However, that will not stop 70,000 screaming French fans from not willing him in front of Usain Bolt tomorrow night!
In 2010, Christophe Lemaitre won both the 100 meters and 200 meters at the 2010 European Championships. While France and Europe celebrated, LeMaitre and his coach were cautious. Better than anyone Lemaitre, who is a rock star in France, knows that, as a twenty-one year old, he has a long way to go.
In 2011, Lemaitre took the bronze in the European Indoors in Bercy. Since then, he has run 9.96 and is running well. He has raced sub 10.00 three times this year. He noted, that while good for him, he needs to work on his consistency and strength as a sprinter. Lemaitre wants to become a great sprinter. And, he can! That is the exciting part of this story. What does he have to do? Well, from his own words, here is what he told the media:
First, he needs to race more consistently over 100 meters, " I need to run under ten seconds consistently. I am not racing against Usain Bolt now, he is at a different level than I, " Lemaitre told the assembled media.
Secondly, while his best event may prove to be the 200 meters, Lemaitre knows that he must race more over both the 100 meters and 200 meters to improve his racing and develop as a sprinter. " This year, I will race 100 meters and 200 meters to make me a better sprinter, " Lemaitre told the media today at the AREVA Paris press day.
Third, he needs to stay focused and attentive to his goal. Being the best in France is okay, being the best in Europe is better, and challenging to be a medal contender anytime he races is part of the goal. If he has more, he is mum about that.
Most of the questions were about Usain Bolt and what he does. It is apparent that Lemaitre knows that he has a long way to go and does not kid himself that he can race in Bolt's level as of yet.
How good is Christophe Lemaitre? With careful coaching and development, Lemaitre could be around for another decade, running fast and winning medals.
Tomorrow, Christophe Lemaitre wants to improve his personal best (20.16) at 200 meters and race honorably, placing well in a field that includes Usain Bolt, Darvis Patton, Mario Forsythe, Shawn Crawford, and Rondel Sorrillo.