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Athletics | International

Usain Bolt © Gallo Images

Bolt 'Muhammad Ali' of athletics - Coe



Calling Usain Bolt "the Muhammad Ali of athletics," Sebastian Coe predicts the Jamaican sprinter will steal the show again at next year's London Olympics.

Coe, the former middle-distance running great, heads the organising committee of the 2012 Games. He was in Daegu, South Korea, for the world championships where Bolt won the 200 metres and anchored Jamaica to a world record in the 4x100 relay.

"It was the return of Beatlemania," Coe said of the crowd reaction to Bolt in Daegu. "The Muhammad Ali of athletics is on his way to an Olympic Stadium near you.

"There really is an Ali-like aura about this guy that is now transcending all sports."

Bolt false-started and was disqualified in the 100 at the worlds but ran a blistering 19.40 seconds to win the 200 and helped Jamaica clock a world record of 37.04 seconds in the relay.

Bolt will be defending his 100 and 200 metre Olympic titles in London next year.

"All things being equal, he'll be the iconic figure of our Games," Coe wrote in his column in The Daily Telegraph. "I've spoken to him and he's told me how he wants to blow people's minds in London, to make yet another extraordinary impact that will cement the status of legend that he wants for himself."

"London is consuming him," Coe added. " I know he's going to base himself in England for quite a while before the Games."

Coe, who is also a vice president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, noted that Bolt could become the first man to successfully defend both the 100 and 200 Olympic titles.

The Jamaican could also challenge his world marks of 9.58 seconds in the 100 and 19.19 in the 200, both set at the 2009 worlds in Berlin.

"I know we're going to have a super-fast track, technology at its best, and, with a bit of luck with the weather, he will clearly be capable of a renewed assault on both his world records," Coe said.



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