• London Olympics 2012

Bolt warns Gemili about Olympic pressures

ESPN staff
June 7, 2012
Usain Bolt has warned Adam Gemili about the cutthroat nature of senior athletics © PA Photos

Usain Bolt has warned emerging British sprint star Adam Gemili not to compete at London 2012 unless he is sure he is mentally strong enough to take the pressure.

Gemili, a virtual unknown less than a week ago, burst to the top of the Team GB 100 metres rankings ahead of the summer's Olympic Games after running a time of 10.08 seconds in Germany last week - comfortably the fastest by a British athlete this season and well inside the official Olympic 'A' standard.

Victory at the forthcoming UK Trials and Championships would practically confirm his selection for the Games, but the 18-year-old has already been warned by his coach that going to the event might not be the best thing for him.

Bolt, the triple Olympic champion, has now agreed with that assessment - although he believes his recent time indicates he has the raw speed to compete.

"If he's not mentally strong then I don't think he should try for the Olympics," Bolt said. "But if he is, why not?

"If he's mentally strong and he's running 10.08 then that's very good - and he's faster than a lot of professional athletes on the circuit.

"You've just got to know whether he can handle it because sometimes if you go up against top athletes it can mess you up mentally and could set you back a couple of years."

Bolt admits that the transition from junior competitions to the seniors is very challenging - revealing that even he struggled initially when he was no longer winning every race with some ease.

"I got a rude awakening when I got on to the circuit," he revealed. "I was beating the seniors in Jamaica when I started out, then when I got on the circuit, I was losing every race.

"That threw me off a little bit, but I had a great coach and he told me that on the circuit everyone has great talent.

"It's all about who harnesses that talent and trains hard and develops it in the way that he can perform to his best.

"For me it was kind of shaky at first, but my coach really helped me through."

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