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Usain Bolt says he is back in Olympic form

The world-record holder in the 100 and 200 meters who lost at the Jamaican Olympic trials says a chronic back ailment led to tightness in his hamstring but the problem is fixed.

July 26, 2012|By Helene Elliott

LONDON -- With Usain Bolt's first meal at the Olympic village considered worth an entire story on a newspaper's website here — for the record, he ate rotisserie chicken for lunch — it's understandable that Bolt's first news conference since he arrived to defend his Olympic 100- and 200-meter titles would be better attended than some of the first Olympic soccer games.

Facing a swarm of camera crews and a packed house of international media on Thursday, Bolt said he's back in form after two surprising losses to teammate Yohan Blake at the Jamaican Olympic trials. After the defeats, Bolt went to Germany for treatment of a chronic back ailment that had led to tightness in his hamstring.

PHOTOS: Usain Bolt

"I had a slight problem that was nothing too serious. I got that fixed," said Bolt, the world-record holder at both sprint distances. "I'm ready to go."

Although his losses to his training partner sparked speculation that Bolt might not be capable of an Olympic repeat, he said he's mentally and physically ready to continue his quest to become a legend. One reason to believe him is that he was chosen to carryJamaica'sflag into the opening ceremony on Friday, which will require him to be on his feet for several hours and wait through the lengthy festivities. It's unlikely he would take on that duty if it might hurt his back or leg and jeopardize his medal chances.

"I'd definitely be disappointed if I didn't win," he said. "That has been my focus the last three years. That's my goal in life."

Guide to the London Olympics

He also said he has been doing more work in the 200 since his loss to Blake, who was clocked in a world-leading 19.80 seconds at the Jamaican competition. "It really has come back to me," Bolt said.

Bolt and Asafa Powell, the former 100-meter world-record holder, were supposed to share the stage Thursday with Blake and other runners, but a delegation official said a luggage mix-up prevented them from attending.

helene.elliott@latimes.com

twitter.com/helenenothelen

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