21 August, 2008

Usain Bolt: hopefully not another Marion Jones

Usain Bolt's feat at the Beijing Olympics, will awe and be talked about - for years and maybe - for generations to come. He has taken the sporting world by storm:

"I blew my mind," he said, "and I blew the world's mind."

His own blown mind should cause no worries -- it will be put back together with another night of prodigious sleep and perhaps some more Chicken McNuggets, his prerace meal of choice this week. But the world's mind may take some time to recover. Track and field, the Olympic Games and the sporting world at large witnessed something Wednesday that cannot quickly be processed, for it involved the utter rewriting of the laws of human athletic possibility.

On a hot, steamy night that would have felt familiar in Kingston or the sugar cane fields of his native Trelawny, Bolt obliterated another world record, torching a world class field in the 200-meter dash in a time of 19.30 seconds, .02 of a second better than American Michael Johnson's 1996 record, which once seemed as untouchable as any in the entire sport. He finished more than half a second -- an eternity in the realm of sprinting -- ahead of the field.

On top of his record-breaking run of 9.69 seconds in the 100-meter dash on Saturday, it gave Bolt an unprecedented double: No sprinter had set world records in both the 100 and 200 in the same Olympics. Carl Lewis of the United States, at the1984 Los Angeles Games, was the last man who even managed to win both in the same Olympics. Read more from the Washington Post

It's wrong to blame Usain for having celebrated the way he did after winning, especially the second Gold; any one, in his position and after achieving the seemingly impossible - would have reacted in the same way. And well: it was the eve of his 22nd birthday! How many people get to celebrate any of their birthdays at the Olympics after astonishing the World - twice - the way he has done?

Years ago, I and the many others who love sports, did celebrate another super athlete's: Marion Jones, incredible achievement - only for her - recently - to state that she was a liar and a cheat. I very much hope, Usain Bolt has truly and honestly became the first man to set world records in both the 100 and 200 in the same Olympics and be the fastest man in the World.

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