Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rogge's Comments Tarnish IOC, Not Bolt

The 2008 Beijing Olympic games have lived up to their hype. There has been amazing feats achieved by equally as amazing athletes. World Records have been set and smashed. They have been the show case event the world expects to see.

Beijing and China have put on such a show, that the Olympic delegates from London must be secretly worried that they know it will be a tough act for them to follow in four years time.

One of the main reasons which has made these games so enjoyable has been the relatively few major controversies. Sure, there has been the usual few drug cheats, a few questionable judging decisions in the diving, gymnastics and boxing & then there is also a large question mark hanging over the Chinese gymnasts who are clearly nowhere near the 16 years of age required to compete.

Nevertheless, none of these issues have knocked the accomplishments of the athletes from the front pages of the news.

IOC president Jacques Rogge must have been starting to feel abit sorry for himself. He and his pampered delegates weren't getting enough attention from the media all the while Phelps, Bolt et al hogged the limelight.

When Usain Bolt broke - smashed - the World Record in the men's 100m on Saturday night, he showed us two things. Firstly, that he is a superstar runner, possibly the finest sprinter we've ever seen. Secondly, that by not finishing the race at full-speed, he is a young man with still some lessons to learn in how to be a complete professional sportsman.

He is young, he will learn. He's already shown himself to be as quick a learner as he is a runner when he galloped to a second Gold medal and another World Record in the mens 200m on Thursday. This time there was no let up when he was the only one in sight of the finish line.

His pre-finish celebration and subsequent post-race delight in the 100m disappointed Rogge. "That's not the way we perceive being a champion," Rogge said. Let's take a moment to remember that Bolt is a 21-year-old who just set an almost untouchable World Record in one of the Olympics most prestigious events, yet Rogge didn't seem to think his celebration was justified.

What did Rogge expect from Usain ? A quiet nod of acknowledgement to the crowd and that's it ?
The men's 100 metre's is one event that every Olympic fan looks forward too. If you win this race, you inherit the title of "fastest man on earth". Bolt can go one better too and also add the word "ever" to his tag.

Bolt's record might never be bettered. He is his only real threat to his crown at the moment.

Back to Rogge. "I would love him to show more respect for his competitors". Bolt might have had time to shake hands with the other runners if they finished anywhere near him. By the time Bolt had crossed the line, they were only distant specs in his rear-view mirror.

How dare Bolt turn the Olympic Games into such a spectacle ? This is not what they are all about, no. The true spirit of the Olympics is about five-star hotels, limousine's and expensive restaurants, especially for Rogge and co.

Rogge did finally at least acknowledge that Bolt is a fine athlete. "(he is) a great athlete, of course".

Hopefully in London in 2012, Bolt will set the pulses of sports fans racing again as he sets about defending his 100m crown. With any luck, by then, Rogge will be as distant a memory as Usain's challengers were here in Beijing.

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