Following the capture of his third IAAF Athlete Of The Year award, sprint superstar Usain Bolt voiced his desire to line up the men’s 4x400m relay on top of defending his three Olympic titles in London come summer in an attempt to emulate Carl Lewis‘s quadruple in a single Olympia in Los Angeles back in 1984.

A goal that could also represent an incentive to spur the Jamaican on to take his game up a level on what he has achieved so far and reach new grounds of success, having often expressed a lack of motivation to carry on at the same intensity in the sport since 2009. But that defeat to Tyson Gay (USA) over 100m in Stockholm last year definitely may have been a blessing in disguise to help rekindle his hunger.

Of course, even if he eventually brings off that mighty challenge it would not be quite on level with the feat of Lewis, who arrayed three individual golds to equal in turn legendary Jesse Owens‘s monumental golden haul across the very same line of events (100, 200, long jump & 4x100m) in Berlin in 1936.

But there begs the question, is it feasible for Bolt? At a first look, it sounds so exciting as a prospect but it may prove a great deal harder to achieve, or even out of reach, put into practice.

Michael Johnson, the greatest ever 400m runner to grace the athletics stage, has swiftly followed up on the announcement to cast serious doubts over whether Bolt is capable of pulling off such a massive task, mainly on the grounds that he would struggle to combine the required training to sustain such a pursuit.

The American reckons that Bolt could succeed over the longer distance but adds he would be surprised if that ever turned into shape. The reason is plain and simple, the Jamaican has said time and again he doesn’t like the training concerned and it’s where the matter ought to end.

You can afford to be a little lazy in the 100, or even the 200m, if you’ve got the talent to go the distance, but you would never go far if you don’t put in the tough and highly demanding training that an event like the 400m requires to succeed. Speed is a blessing but isn’t going to take you far if you haven’t got the strength and endurance platform to carry you round a whole lap of the track.

Arguably, Bolt could be carried away by a blistering anchor leg well inside 44 secs he ran two springs ago which can be misguiding into his decision. That was during his pre-season build-up when he was still doing plenty of long runs and endurance work in training, so it all came out rather naturally. Yet, in order to replicate such a run in the Olympics he will have to carry a considerable amount of such training all the way through up there, which forms the tricky part of the equation.

Sustaining such training deep into the season could affect his sheer speed over his main distances and therefore compromise his chances to defend his very own titles successfuly. Something he cannot afford especially at a time when a new menacing force looks to emerge in the semblance of training partner Yohan Blake, while Gay himself has shown the potential to run faster than ever.

In addition, fatigue run up through the endless rounds of either the 100, 200m, whereas he could be rested in the short relay heats, leading up to the 4x400m could take its dent in the end, another consideration to take on board. On the other hand, the clash of the two latter events with the 4x400m heats in the second half of the Olympic schedule shouldn’t be so much of a problem as the Jamaicans ought to have enough personnel well-equipped to do the job for them. Bolt coule be waiting in the wings and come on only in the final.

Finally, even on the chance that everything en route falls to Bolt’s wishes up to the long relay, his fate wouldn’t be entirely in his hands still. His compatriots will have to match the strength in depth of the Americans and that is not going to be easy, in particular if Jeremy Warriner returns fully fit and flowing and with Lashawn Merritt having regained his eligibility to compete.

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