The world will not need to wait long to get a glimpse at triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt's fitness for his highly anticipated 2012 season.
Healthy and on a new nutrition program, Bolt plans to launch his run-up to defending his 100 and 200 metres titles at the 2012 London Games with tune-up races in Jamaica next month, the world's fastest man told Reuters.
"I always run quarters (400s)before the season and I will be starting in February," Bolt said in a telephone interview from Kingston arranged by sponsor Gatorade. "I think I will run at least two this season."
Some relay races will also likely be on the early program as Bolt returns to a more traditional warm up for high-powered sprint races later in the season.
An injury slowed the launch of Bolt's 2011 season until May, but previously he had always made test runs in late January or February to break up training.
"Last year was hard," Bolt said. "I started the season off a little bit injured. I had to change a lot of things."
But aside from a false start that cost him a chance to defend his 100 metres world title, the world record holder said he was pleased with the way his year ended.
"A lot of people may talk, but they don't know what I went through," said the International Association of Athletics Federations male athlete of the year.
"I came back at the world championships and I won a medal, I ran a fast time and I was unbeaten," said the lanky Jamaican who successfully defended his world 200 metres crown and anchored Jamaica to a world record in the 4x100 metres relay.
"So for me, last season was probably one of my best seasons that I have ever had taking into consideration the work that I could put in (and what) I had to go through."
When he will run his first sprint test of 2011 or meet up with training partner and 100 metres world champion Yohan Blake has not been determined, Bolt said.
"Definitely I will open in Jamaica," he said. "Otherwise I am not sure what I will be doing next season."
Any race against Blake, the hot new sprinter who not only claimed the 100 metres world title but ran the second fastest 200 metres of all-time last season, would be a spectator's delight.
But Bolt, at least publicly, tried not to attach special significance to any potential meeting.
"For me, it is all the same thing with everybody," said Bolt, who at age 25 is three years older than Blake. "It is not going to change anything for me.
"For me, it is a job. So if I have got to go out there and race against Yohan, it is okay," said Bolt, who has never lost to Blake.
A major fan of English Premier League powerhouse Manchester United, Bolt will be on view for American football fans on Monday when he helps launch a marketing campaign for sponsor Gatorade called "Win From Within."
The commercial, which aired during Monday's Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl games, also featured basketball's Dwyane Wade, tennis' Serena Williams, swimmer Ryan Lochte and soccer player Abby Wambach.
Bolt spent more than five hours on set for his role in the commercial and made a quick discovery.
"(Running a) 100 is much easier," he said. "Much, much easier." (Editing by Julian Linden)
Sent: 2012-01-03 13:20:25 (EDT)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. Click For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp