'It's unfair': Usain Bolt lashes 'laughable' new sprint truth

·4-min read
Pictured here, Usain Bolt gestures towards a supporter after a race. Pic: Getty
Usain Bolt says modern shoe technology offers athletes an unfair advantage. Pic: Getty

Usain Bolt claims the current crop of athletes aiming to take his mantle as the world's new Sprint King, have a distinct advantage that he was not afforded.

Bolt says advances in spike technology that could help wipe out his world records are "laughable".

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He also reckons the new shoes give an unfair advantage to sprinters over other athletes who are not wearing them.

Advancements in shoe technology and the benefits they bring athletes are nothing new, with carbon-plated, thick-soled shoes attributed to a slew of records in distance running in recent times.

However, manufacturers are now starting to turn their attentions to technology advancements in spikes for sprinters.

Although there is less time in a race for the advantages to make significant impacts - it is still enough to make a difference.

Bolt - the 100m and 200m world record holder - competed in Puma spikes throughout his career.

The 34-year-old claims that manufacturers were often blocked in the past for trying to develop shoes that gave athletes a competitive advantage.

The eight-time Olympic gold medallist says he was stunned to learn that was no longer the case.

"When I was told about it I couldn't believe that this is what we have gone to, you know what I mean, that we are really adjusting the spikes to a level where it's now giving athletes an advantage to run even faster," Bolt told Reuters in an interview from Kingston.

Seen here, Usain Bolt does his trademark pose for photographers.
Usain Bolt holds world records in both the 100m and 200m sprints. Pic: Getty

"It's weird and unfair for a lot of athletes because I know that in the past they (shoe companies) actually tried and the governing body said 'no, you can't change the spikes', so to know that now they are actually doing it, it's laughable," the eight-time Olympic champion said.

Bolt has clearly been having some flashbacks about his extraordinary Olympic career, with the Sprint King posting a message to competitors ahead of the Tokyo Games.

The Instagram post shows Bolt claiming celebrating one his many triumphs alongside a message that reads: "Just remember how hard you all been training for this moment and all will be ok".

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Bolt finished with eight Olympic gold medals, which included three consecutive 100m golds.

American Trayvon Bromell is favourite to take Bolt's 100m title in Tokyo, and his 9.77 seconds is the fastest time in the world this year.

However, the 2015 world 100m bronze medallist is less convinced about the impact of the shoes.

"I don't think there's a lot of data to show that they're having such a big improvement," Bromell, who runs for New Balance, told reporters last week.

"I know we (New Balance) are constantly building onto what we have to make the perfect spike, but for me personally as a runner I still feel like it's not enough data to really show."

While other companies now have similar shoe models, Nike looks set to dominate and is priding itself on being a leader in the technology.

"We're just smarter about how we engineer and assemble them," Nike said in an email to Reuters.

The company added that it works to keep its athletes on the cutting edge while staying within the rules.

Weighing in on developments in shoe technology, World Athletics said: "The current regulations (July 2020) were designed to give certainty to athletes preparing for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, to preserve the integrity of elite competition and to limit technological development to the current level until after the Olympic Games in Tokyo, across all events."

It said a working group on shoes aimed to set parameters to achieve a balance between innovation, competitive advantage and availability of the products.

with agencies

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