Usain Bolt is a freak of nature.
Usain Bolt is a force of nature.
The Jamaican claimed his 11th World Championship gold in four appearances in the 4 X 100m relay in his trademarked style.
Is there a greater sprinter in the history of the sport? More dominant, bigger, cleaner?
He was expected to be given a run for his money by his resurgent American rival, Justin Gatlin.
Just one-hundredth of a second separated the two in the 100 metres.
But the 200 was all Usain. It’s his favourite event and we all saw why.
The Bird’s Nest had seen the eagle land and his name was Bolt.
“People pretty much counted me out this season. They said, ‘He’s not going to make it. That’s it for him.’ I came out and proved you can never count Usain Bolt out. I’m a champion, and I’ll show up when it matters.”
It took a runaway Segway steered by an errant cameraman to trip this phenomenon.
What will it take to beat Bolt?
You can’t catch up with him, that’s for sure.
“What will it take? It will take staying in front. That’s what it’s going to take.”
And to think that this is his worst year yet.
Gatlin was hoping for redemption for his fall from grace, having been banned for doping.
It was and it wasn’t. The better man won.
It wasn’t for lack of trying.
However, the paying public or the online denizens would not have anything of it. There was no substance behind the portrayal of Gatlin as the ‘villain’ of the showpiece.
The American had paid for his folly. And he was back to prove that he could run—clean—and win.
Bolt spoke of retiring after the Rio Olympics next year.
The newly crowned IAAF chief, Sebastian Coe, was quick to lament the announcement.
“I do sort of feel that I’m in sort of 1960s, 1970s time warp. It’s the kind of conversation that was probably taking place in boxing at that time as to what happens after Muhammad Ali retires. Well, after Muhammad Ali, Marvin Hagler happens. After Muhammad Ali, (Thomas) Hearns happen, Sugar Ray Leonard, (Floyd) Mayweather. It happens.Yes, what we have to concede, and what I believe is that I don’t think any athlete, any sportsman or woman since Muhammad Ali has captured the public imagination and propelled their sport as quickly and as far as Usain Bolt has. The Usain Bolts of this world will not come along on a conveyor belt . We do need to make sure people understand we have extraordinary talent, which we’ve witnessed in Beijing. We shouldn’t be concerned because we have a sport that is adorned by some of the most outrageously superhuman, talented people in any sport. Our challenge is to make sure the public know there are other athletes in out sport.”
Spare a thought for Gatlin, the vilified.
His lack of contrition is held against him as against Bolt’s lack of arrogance.
Gatlin’s agent, Renaldo Nehemiah, says:
“When people say he never apologised, I say: ‘You haven’t done your homework.’ And the IAAF, who know this, have never come out and said anything, which I am very sad about. Justin has apologised. What is he supposed to do, go to every country and say sorry?”
I have always said to Usada and Wada: ‘Come and test us, day or night’. That’s all we can do, make ourselves available and, if that’s not good enough for people, that’s just the world we live in.
In the last few years Justin has focused on getting his weight right and getting his technique on where it needed to be and starting to run more efficiently. We don’t know with certainty anyone, who hasn’t tested positive, is not doing anything. The good thing about our testing is that it does catch people. Justin Gatlin did get caught doping. That is a fact. So we do catch people and I am happy about that.”
Justin is very charming, personable and bright. But at some point you have to back away. He said: ‘I can’t be beat down by this every single day. I came here to run, this is not fun for me.’ So I told him: ‘If anyone is going to continue to talk about the past, let’s not talk to them.’”
Gatlin admits he was a drug cheat but he’s also a human being:
“Obviously I am the most criticised athlete in track and field but at the end of the day I am a runner and that’s all I can be.”
Gatlin has now gone public about his multiple apologies in the past for his mistakes.
In one of his letters addressed to IAAF’s then president, Lamine Diack, and his senior vice-president, Sergey Bubka, he wrote:
“I am sincerely remorseful and it continues to be my mission to be a positive role model mentoring to athletes to avoid the dangers and public and personal humiliation of doping. And the harm it brings to the sport of athletics.”
I have cooperated fully with the United States federal investigation to clean up our sport of track and field working towards it becoming drug free.”
Bolt may be clean but he’s hardly your typical sprinter.
He’s blessed with twitch fibres much like other sprinters but he’s also a huge man. His large strides lend him an advantage that’s hard to overcome once he hits his paces.
He’s no lumbering mountain man; he’s the biggest, fastest man on the planet.
He’s a freak of nature. And it’s more than likely that it will need another anomalous human being to break his existing records.
Is that possible? Or is it possible, even feasible, that gene therapy and its mutations are the way forward in games that require superhuman efforts to be ‘Higher, Faster, Stronger’?
What he said:
“A cheetah would be cooler. I can see the headlines, ‘Usain Bolt beats cheetah’.”
The champion sprinter was replying to a question whether he would like to race against a fast car or a cheetah.
The cheetah is the fastest land animal and can reach speeds of 90 to 128 kmph. Bolt, however, has clocked a top speed of about 45 kmph.
(1936 four-gold medal winner Jesse Owens raced against horses in exhibits but he cheated. The starting gun was fired next to the thoroughbred’s head startling it and giving the sprinter a head-start.)
Bolt was in Bangalore to play a seven-a-side exhibition match against a team which had some of India’s top cricketers including Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan. The face-off was titled ‘Bolt and Yuvi – Battle of the Legends’.
On breaking new records:
“It’s possible. After running 9.58 seconds I’ve never said, ‘Never again.’ My coach knows there is no limit because I never knew I was going to go that fast. But when you go there, you have great competition, you push yourself to the limit and if you are in great shape anything is possible. No, I don’t have any magic number in mind. To me, the 100m record is not the one which matters now. It is the 200m where I want to go sub-19.”
Asked if yam and chicken nuggets were his secret ingredients:
“Yeah, but chicken nuggets was just one time in China as I didn’t want to take a chance with other food. Otherwise, I eat normal food. I’m not the kind of person who would give advice on diet (laughs) because I’m bad when it comes to my diet as I eat anything that I like.”
On Sachin Tendulkar:
“Everybody knows him. Sachin is one of the greatest ever in the sport. I remember the days when he depressed me by beating West Indies. There is another funny story. When I was growing up I never supported West Indies. I was a Pakistan supporter which my dad could never understand. But then I was a huge Waqar Younis fan.”
What he really meant:
“I’d like to prove I’m the fastest beast on the planet—I’m not a machine. I get injured and no mechanics can repair me.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Let’s race cars and we’ll headline it ‘Usain goes to Hollywood'”.
What he said:
"Not even Usain Bolt would have been able to stop him.I’d like my team to have legs with so much running in them."
Barca manager, Pep Guardiola, does not blame his side for allowing AC Milan’s Alexandre Pato’s fifth-quickest goal in the Champions League—in all of 24 seconds.
What he really meant:
“A real pity Pato’s goal did not meet the same fate that Bolt’s 100 meters run at the World championships did.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“What if I picked the Jamaican relay squad as defenders? Would that have worked?”
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Hockey India (HI) have received urgent faxes from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and Athletics Federation of India (AFI) requesting access to their training methods.
The appeal follows a report in the Hindustan Times that Indian hockey players are masters of the short sprint, able to cover 10 metres in a minimum time of 1.57 seconds. This beats Usain Bolt’s existing record of 1.89 by a whopping margin.