Bolt backed to break own record
Usain Bolt could break his own world record at this summer's Olympic Games, according to British sprinter Harry Aikines-Aryeetey.
Aikines-Aryeetey believes the Mondo track in use at the stadium is quick enough for Jamaican superstar Bolt to better the time of 9.58 seconds he set in winning World Championship gold in Berlin in 2009.
After competing three times on the track in winning the 100 metres title at the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) championships, Loughborough student Aikines-Aryeetey said: "Oh it's fast. It's very, very fast.
"Wherever I run I like to do a ball test. I take a cricket ball and just bounce it on the normal track and the Mondo track.
"On a normal track it bounces to knee height. On a Mondo it comes up to your hip, so everything you put into it you get back out. There's no excuse not to run fast on it."
Asked if that meant triple Olympic champion Bolt could break his record in London, the 23-year-old added: "You'd imagine so.
"If he's in that shape and in that mood and there's a bit of sunshine, I think the track is ready for that. It's definitely going to be a fast Olympics, no doubt. It's the fastest Mondo there is. It's a very nice track."
Whether there will be sunshine remains to be seen, but despite today's cold weather and an early start for the semi-finals, Aikines-Aryeetey was determined to take part.
"It might be cold but I wouldn't rather be anywhere else right now," the former world junior champion added.
"Rain or shine I wanted to get in the stadium and see how it feels.
"It's kind of breathtaking a little bit because when you're inside it, it still has an atmosphere and there's no one in it. So you can imagine when it's packed full of Brits shouting 'Come on Harry' it's going to be immense."
The BUCS championship is also doubling as the Olympic test event, with a large crowd expected to enjoy '2012 Hours to Go: An Evening of Athletics and Entertainment,' featuring an unlikely line-up including Tottenham-born rapper Chipmunk, former Spice Girl Mel C and Sir Steve Redgrave.
And south Londoner Aikines-Aryeetey admits it finally feels as if the Olympics is just around the corner.
"Because I'm in Loughborough and I've been in Portugal you keep your head away from it all," he added.
"You kind of chill out a little bit. I'm preparing for it, but you don't want to catch Olympic fever in the wrong way.
"Olympic fever can help boost your training. It can make you train harder. It can also make you over-train and you can get distracted by a lot of people. You want to stay clear of mind but at the same time you want it to boost you. There's a fine line.
"So when I walked through Westfield I was like 'Wow, this is amazing'. You've got to kind of step away because you're not here to enjoy the Olympics. You're here to perform at the Olympics and enjoy the rewards."
London 2012 chairman Seb Coe is attending all four days of competition and admitted he is still "shaken" by the transformation of the Olympic Park.
"It's fantastic," Coe said.
"There is a rare week that goes by without me coming up here for one thing or another, but it's normally about working out other stuff.
"To suddenly see guys coming out followed by volunteers with their kit in the basket and competing is fantastic.
"If I think back eight years, I'm standing at the top of a tower block looking at the site with the IOC's evaluation teams, feeling a bit like a Costa Brava timeshare salesman, saying 'You see that rotting pile of fridges, that's where the stadium is going, and that's where the velodrome is going.
"And I'm hearing the words coming out and they are looking at me like 'Yeah?' We've come a long way really.
"I walked around anonymously last night and I was just listening to the excitement of the people who were walking in. It was a bit like watching my kids on the first day they woke up to find snow in the back garden.
"I don't think people quite realise, unless you have been here, just what has happened. I still get occasionally shaken by what I see."