Usain Bolt is relishing the chance to perform in front of a “beautiful” Olympic Stadium crowd for the second time in two days this afternoon.
The Jamaican was back at the scene of his triple London 2012 triumph last night and recovered from a woeful start to blast to a 100 metres victory in 9.85 seconds, his fastest time of the year.
The 4x100m relay is up next on day two of the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games and the 26-year-old is eager to put on another show for the fans reliving the memories of last summer.
“I knew it was going to be a big crowd, but when I got out there I saw that it was ram-packed and the energy was still like the Olympics,” he said.
“It was just wonderful, so I was slightly nervous, but I loved the energy of the crowd.
“It was beautiful and I love competing here.”
And the crowd were determined to lap up every second.
After all, this was the world’s fastest man’s first appearance on these shores outside of the Olympics since 2009, and whether he returns is likely to depend on whether he gets another tax exemption.
Flashbulbs galore and a roar to rival those heard at the Olympics greeted Bolt when he was introduced to the crowd ahead of the race, having earlier been driven around the track on an adapted rocket.
His run did not quite match the grand entrance and he labelled his start, which left him with plenty of work to do in the second half of the race, as “horrifying”.
Come through he did, though, to lift himself up to second in the world rankings, behind Tyson Gay, whose times are now under a doping cloud.
“I think it is just race rust and I just need to get a few races in,” said Bolt, whose next stop is Moscow for the World Championships.
“The rounds in the World Championships will help that and get my legs freer and a bit lighter.
While Dwain Chambers finished fifth in 10.10secs, Great Britain’s newest sprint star James Dasaolu had to pull out through injury.
Dasaolu, whose problem was a tight hip flexor, said: “It is so disappointing I couldn’t be a part of the show and I’m sorry for those who were looking forward to the race. Everything was lined up for a great race but the tightness in my hip during warm-up couldn’t be ignored.
“I am running fast this summer because I have made smart decisions with my coach (Steve Fudge) over the last 18 months and we’re not going to change that approach with the World Championships just two weeks away.
“Come Moscow I’ll be ready to go.”
The standout British performance of the night came from Perri Shakes-Drayton, who set a new 400m hurdles personal best of 53.67s in finishing second to dominant Czech Zuzana.
It confirmed her status as a strong medal contender for Moscow.