Usain Bolt returns to the Olympic Stadium tonight looking to revive memories of London 2012 and at the same time lift the gloom hanging over athletics.
The Jamaican is the headline act on the first day of the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, which will see the east London venue welcome back many of the stars who graced it last summer.
Sprinters Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, whose failed drug tests have shaken the sport, will not be among the big names in action.
Bolt was bombarded with questions on the doping issue when he faced the media yesterday and admitted: “It’s going to set us back a little bit.”
But he added: “As a person I can’t focus on this. I am just trying to work hard, run fast and hopefully help people to forget what has happened, and just move on and look forward to the World Championships (in Moscow next month).”
The fact is, though, the claims surrounding Gay and Powell mean the world record holder himself is now being asked to justify his achievements.
The pair, who are both still awaiting the results of their ’B’ samples, are the second and fourth fastest men in history respectively.
Bolt said: “I was made to inspire people and to run. I know I am clean. So I’m just going to continue running, using my talent and trying to improve the sport and help the sport.”
Tonight at least the 26-year-old will be able to let his feet do all the talking when he comes back to the stadium where, in his eyes, he became “a legend” by defending his Olympic 100 metres, 200m and 4x100m titles.
He still has fond memories of the “overwhelming” number of people who filled the stadium, with full houses on all three days of competition expected again over the weekend.
Bolt will race over 100m against Britain’s newest sprint star, James Dasaolu, who became the second fastest Briton in history by running 9.91 seconds in Birmingham earlier this month.
That is quicker than Bolt’s best this year, his 9.94secs rather sluggish by his lofty standards.
But Dasaolu said: “It’s going to be a tough race against the quickest man in history, who has six Olympic titles among many other accolades.
“I think everyone [in the field] has gone sub-10, so I’m just going to give it my best and enjoy running in front of a home crowd.”
The event is being staged to mark the one-year anniversary of the Olympics opening ceremony and two of Britain’s stars of last summer will be back tomorrow looking to re-create ’Super Saturday’.
Jessica Ennis-Hill has confirmed she is fit to compete in the 100m hurdles and the long jump, having only made her long-awaited comeback from an Achilles tendon injury on Tuesday.
The Olympic heptathlon champion will join Mo Farah, who goes over 3,000m, in aiming to give the home crowd plenty of reason to cheer.