Merritt looking forward to Bolt 200m meeting

July 18, 2016
LaShawn Merritt

LaShawn Merritt, the USA 400 metre Olympic trials winner, will be one of Usain Bolt's rivals in the 200 metres at the Olympic Games and he seems to be looking forward to the challenge.

Merritt placed second to Justin Gatlin in the 200m after winning his pet event earlier in the Trials.

The 2008 Olympic 400m champion raced to a time of 19.78 seconds in an early season race and pundits believe he was sharpening his speed to face World 400 champion Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa in the Olympics.

He lowered that personal best of 19.74 in the Trials semis, and revealed his intent to do both events in Rio de Janeiro after a narrow loss to Gatlin in the final.

Speaking to www.teamusa.org, the 30-year-old American recalled his races with Bolt.

"I've raced him in a 200m and he's beaten me in a 200m," he said of Bolt.

"He's raced me in the 400m and I beat him in Kingston one year," he reminisced on an encounter at the 2007 Jamaica Invitational.

"We've lined up he's human, everybody's human," he added.

Bolt placed third and Merritt was fifth in the 2006 Lausanne 200, 19.88 to 20.10 seconds. The tall Jamaican set his 400 metre personal best when Merritt won the following year in Kingston. Bolt clocked 45.28 seconds in third behind Merritt's winning time of 44.95 seconds.

Merritt added: "I've looked at him and he runs really fast in the 200m."

American Michael Johnson is the only man to win both events in a single Olympics.

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