Usain Bolt ran the fourth-fastest 200m race ever in 19.59 seconds in sinking temperatures and heavy rainfall at the Athletissima meet on Tuesday.
It was one-hundredth of a second slower than what the US’ Tyson Gay ran in May with fair weather and a breeze at his back.
But with the temperature in Lausanne dipping to 15˚C and the track slowed by a downpour, Bolt showed he was back in top form a year after winning the 100m and 200m in world records at the Beijing Olympics.
‘NOT READY YET’
“I’m in good shape, but I’m not fully ready yet,” said the 22-year-old Jamaican, who was aiming to peak for the world championships next month in Berlin.
“I still need to work on a few technical things,” Bolt added.
Bolt said he was “not concerned with records,” even though he was within three-tenths of a second of the 19.30 he posted in Beijing. The other faster time is Michael Johnson’s 19.32 at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
LaShawn Merritt was a distant second in 20.41, while fellow American Shawn Crawford — the 2004 Olympic champion and runner-up last year — finished more than a second behind in fourth.
Bolt’s teammate Asafa Powell won the 100m in 10.07 seconds in what he described as a “good race” given the conditions.
“These were the worst weather conditions for a race in my whole life,” Powell said.
Still, Powell called it his best performance of the season and said Bolt’s world record of 9.69 seconds was within his reach, even though he was nowhere close on Tuesday on the same track where he clocked 9.72 a year ago.
Underscoring the Jamaican dominance in the sprints, Isa Phillips won the 400m hurdles in 48.18 seconds to beat American Kerron Clement.
On the women’s side, Jamaicans Kerron Stewart and Shericka Williams had a 1-2 finish in the women’s 200m, while Shelly-Ann Frase world champion Maryam Jamal was second in the 1,500m behind Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka, who won in 4 minutes, 0.67 seconds.
On the men’s side, Olympic champ Steve Hooker of Australia started his outdoor season by clearing 5.75m to win the pole vault.
Cuba’s Daryon Robles, another gold medalist in Beijing, won the men’s 110m hurdles in 13.18 seconds.
“I came here to run a good race,” said Robles, whose world record stands at 12.87. “But with this rain, it’s too difficult.”
Too difficult for everyone but Bolt, apparently.