By Gene Cherry
(Reuters) – Usain Bolt has some advice for speedy Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill: Forget trying to make the U.S. team for the Tokyo Olympics.
“No chance,” the retired 100 and 200 metres world record holder told NBCSports.com when asked about Hill’s stated quest.
While Hill, perhaps the fastest man in the National Football League, may have run quality sprint times in high school that were non-wind assisted (10.19 seconds in 100 metres, 20.14 in 200) eight years ago, Bolt pointed out the 25-year-old would need to run the 200 metres three times over three days at June’s U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon.
“A lot of people think it’s about one-off runs, but it’s rounds that really show who you are and the amount of work you do,” Bolt said. “So I think no, he wouldn’t make the team.”
Hill also would need to run a lot faster. The final automatic qualifiers for the U.S. Rio Olympic team, the third place finishers at the 2016 trials, clocked 9.98 seconds in the 100m and 20.00 seconds in the 200.
Just to qualify for the 2020 trials Hill would need to run 10.05 in the 100m or 20.24 in the 200m.
Bolt also had some thoughts on who would be the sprint winners at Tokyo.
“From my standpoint right now, Christian Coleman has got the Olympics (100m) won already,” Bolt said of the U.S. world champion. “He’s fearless. He’s really fearless.”
If he does, Coleman would be the first American man to win the event since Justin Gatlin in 2004. The last three titles have gone to Jamaican Bolt.
Bolt was not as certain about the 200m winner.
While American world champion Noah Lyles is the odds-on favorite, Bolt was hesitant to crown him the gold medallist.
“I think (Lyles) could be beaten,” Bolt said. “In a one-off run, no. But through the rounds, he kind of didn’t impress me as much.”
Bolt also offered a tip of the hat to world silver medallist Gatlin, who at age 38 will be seeking to make the U.S. 100m team.
Gatlin beat Bolt to the 2017 world 100m title but the American has long been a controversial figure in the sport after serving two doping bans.
“My greatest competitor was Justin Gatlin,” the Jamaican said. “For the last five years of my career, he kept me on my toes, and I will always respect him for that.”
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar)