It was billed as Usain Bolt versus Asafa Powell, and that's exactly what it was. After an injury-plagued 2010, Bolt made his 2011 debut in the 100m on Thursday in Rome at the Golden Gala, the third installment of this year's IAAF Diamond League.
A slow start nearly cost Bolt, and roughly halfway through the sprint, it appeared that Powell would be able to coast to the win. But then Bolt turned it on over the final 30 meters to overtake his countryman at the finish. Bolt finished with a time of 9.91, just edging Powell, who was clocked at 9.93. Both were well off the world record pace of 9.58, set by Bolt in Berlin in August of 2009.
France's Christophe Lemaitre was third in, 10.00, and Kim Collins of St Kitts finished fourth, in 10.12.
Since he last raced, Bolt lost 10 pounds but gained more muscle in an effort to increase his power-to-weight ratio -- "I've been doing a lot of work strength-wise, core-wise. That's why I might look a little bit bigger. I've got more muscles."
So far, so good for the Usain Bolt.
The 2011 IAAF Diamond League continues with a stop in Eugene, Oregon, at the Prefontaine Classic on June 4. The series concludes Sept. 16, with the Memorial van Damme in Belgium.