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“People like to see showdowns.”

–Usain Bolt, Jamaican track and field star, as he was being honored with the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award in Toronto this week. Bolt predicts that American sprinter Tyson Gay’s return to competition will make for a lively season, “He knows what he has to do to beat me, or compete with me.”

Bolt’s words make us think of another contest that’s heating up: the battle of the search engines. Whether you’re rooting for “Do no harm” Google or Microsoft’s recently launched Bing, we should all agree that the competition is a good thing. Online advertisers — especially small businesses — need options to get the best prices, and Internet users benefit from the engines’ efforts to build the better solution..

But will Bing, which looks prettier than Google, truly be a contender? According to comScore it’s off to a strong start: Bing’s market share in the U.S. climbed to 11.1% June 2-6, and it’s attracting 15.5% of users. — Jessica Shambora