Spotlights have a tough job when Usain Bolt is around. From the moment he makes his entrance, he is a one-man show, and there is no option but to drop everything you are doing and watch him.
Except for the scant few seconds he spends running races, Bolt seems to be interested in everything else around him. Whether it is the girl carrying his gear to the track for him—he put his arm around her and invited her to run the race for him!—to discussing post-race party plans with Yohan Blake—what else could he have been discussing with his younger rival before an Olympic final—the run seems to be teh last thing in his mind. With the race about to begin, he gives the crowd a wave, as if to say, “Hey, just hang in there for about 19 seconds, I'll be be right back to continue partying with you!”
No soon had the race concluded, he was doing push-ups to show he still had a lot of juice left in him. Minutes later he added a new talent to his repertoire by taking a lensman’s camera and shooting pictures of his teammates Blake and Warren Weir, who had made it a 1-2-3 for Jamaica.
In the 200m final, the clocked stopped at 19.32 seconds, the same time, Michael Johnson had registered way back in 1996 in Atlanta. It set one thinking of what might have been: just imagine Johnson and Bolt running together, each at their peak; they may have put the 19-second barrier in danger! Bolt, after all, already holds the 200m world record at 19.19 seconds (set in Berlin in 2009).
So, Bolt repeated the double he achieved at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing four years ago, and is the only man to do so. He won the 100m by by a whole 0.12 seconds, a massive margin considering the standard of the competition, and he did the same in 200m. On both occasions, Blake was the man just behind him.
On Thursday, Bolt had enough leeway to have a look sideways at Blake, a man who has run the 200m in 19.26 seconds and beaten him at the Jamaican trials. Blake seemed to be closing in around the 150m mark, but all of sudden Bolt shifted gears and pulled away.
So sure was the world about Bolt’s win, that betting shops had the odds at as little as 1/8. Betting shops were even offering odds on other runners, by taking out Bolt from the race!
Four years ago Bolt had clocked 19.30s, but on the eve of the London Games, there were questions about Bolt’s fitness and more so after his defeat at the hands of Blake. But once he came on show at the 100m semis, all doubts vanished. His running in both 100m and 200m has been as dominant as it was in Beijing and God alone knows what he can achieve if he is pushed a bit more.
He comes across as clean as a whistle in a sport that has taken a battering in terms of taints because of dope. He brings with him the kind of energy that is seldom seen in world sport. He said, before these Games, that he wanted to be a legend. On Thursday evening, he ensured that that was what he will be remembered as.of sport.
The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.
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