What caused him to wreck his BMW recently, two years after he wrecked another BMW while driving barefoot? Or, was he psyched out by protégé Blake? In fact, theres a persistent rumor that Bolt false-started and was disqualified on purpose at last years world championships because he didnt want to lose to Blake, who became the youngest world champ at 100 meters since Carl Lewis.
Bolt, 25, and Blake, 22, are friends, and say they will remain so no matter what happens in London. They train together under Mills and hang out during trips. Their faces appear on billboards all over town Bolt talking on Digicell, Blake in a starters crouch next to a sports car. Bolt has been Blakes inspiration.
I owe him so much, Blake said. He has taught me like Im his little brother.
Bolt, who nicknamed Blake The Beast, dismisses any talk of a rivalry.
Im training to stay on top and hes training to get to the top, so its two different things, Bolt said. We push each other. When youre confident theres no need to show up a fellow athlete.
Mills, 62, has coached Jamaican athletes to more than 100 Olympic and world championship medals. Hes a bald, barrel-chested man who speaks in a soothing baritone. Perhaps thats why his runners appear relaxed when opponents nerves are frayed.
I love both, Mills said of the showman Bolt and the serious, soft-spoken Blake. One is tall, one is short. Beyond that, I do not compare them. I make no predictions.
As for former world champ Kim Collins declaration that two male crabs cannot live in the same hole, Mills laughed. He points out that Lewis and Leroy Burrell trained together, as did Maurice Greene and Ato Bolden.
Theyre not enemies, he said. They enjoy competition.
Mills athletes place total trust in him. The former math teacher calculates the geometry of form for his runners, then adjusts their technique. Bolt came to him with poor mechanics and hamstring problems. Mills figured out that scoliosis was the cause. Bolt enhanced his core and hip-flexor strength and his forward lean, but is still a work in progress. Hell need to improve his start in order to run the 9.4 and 19.00 he and Michael Johnson believe he can run.
Bolt grew up in the hilly countryside of Trelawny in a house with no running water; he had to carry buckets up and down rutted roads. His father was a coffee farm laborer, his mother a seamstress. Bolt loved cricket first, but his speed on the pitch impressed track coaches.
Trelawny was home to Campbell-Brown, who used to walk and jog five miles to school, and Ben Johnson, whose 100-meter win for Canada at the 1988 Olympics was annulled when he tested positive for steroids.
Yams grown in Trelawny are to Jamaicans what grapefruits grown in Florida are to Americans: delicious and nutritious.
Weve got rich soil, Bolt said. Bananas, ackee, callaloo our diet is healthy.
Blake grew up with six siblings in Bogue Hill, also toting water and aspiring to be a cricket player. He joined Mills club and had his first setback in 2009, when he tested positive for a stimulant. He was exonerated but Jamaicas anti-doping agency made him serve a three-month suspension. Track officials and athletes are sensitive to accusations of doping.