With just over two months remaining until the 2012 Olympics, Usain Bolt almost lost a 100-meter race at the Golden Spike meet in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on May 25. He rallied to win in 10.04 seconds, a time that would've left him in last place at the 2008 Olympics (although he did run into a 0.8 meters-per-second headwind). So, is anything wrong with Bolt? Apparently not, judging by his subsequent performance.
Bolt won the 100 meters in Rome's Diamond League meet on May 31 in a world-leading 9.76 seconds with basically neutral wind. Barring any mishaps at the starting line, the London 100 meters should feature Bolt, plus seven other runners battling for second place.
Other highlights from Rome included Paul Koech running the third-best steeplechase of all time (7:54.31), plus an exciting 5000-meter race in which Vivian Cheruiyot (14:35.62) held off Meseret Defar (14:35.65) as they ran stride-for-stride on the home stretch. Additionally, the almost 20-year-old Fantu Magiso of Ethiopia ran 1:57.56 to beat a strong 800-meter field that included Pamela Jelimo (1:58.33) and Mariya Savinova (1:58.56).
In last weekend's Eugene, Oregon Diamond League meet - better known as the Prefontaine Classic - Liu Xiang made a run at Dayron Robles' 110-meter hurdles record. Liu equaled Robles' time of 12.87 seconds but was aided by a 2.4 mps wind, 0.4 mps above the legal limit.
The meet also featured strong 400-meter fields. In the men's race, LaShawn Merritt (44.91) beat 2011 World champion Kirani James to the finish line. Although James was later disqualified for a false start - he was running under protest after appealing the false start call - Merritt's victory sends a message that he's at least a co-favorite to retain his Olympic crown. On the women's side, Sanya Richards-Ross also defeated a Daegu winner, running a world-leading 49.39 to defeat Amantle Montsho (49.62).
Other highlights included 2012 world-leading performances from Christian Taylor in the triple jump (17.62 meters/57 feet, 9¾ inches) and Reese Hoffa in the shot put (21.81/71-6).