Thursday, December 11, 2008

Usain Bolt Beats Out Michael Phelps as 2008's Best Athlete


It only took 9.69 seconds, but Usain Bolt managed to steal Michael Phelps thunder at the Beijing Olympics. Despite Phelps winning a staggering eight Gold medals – five more than Bolt - none of them were individually more spectacular than Bolt’s pulsating sprint in the 100 meter dash.

Memories are built on moments, not numbers.

In the primest of prime-times, Bolt put on a show to give the Olympics blue riband event its deserved platform. The men’s 100 meters is the one race that every Olympic fan waits patiently for and hopes for a special moment that they'll be able to talk about forever.

Usain Bolt delivered.

In doing so he returned the initials ‘WR’ next to the numbers 9.69. This is one event that should always have its best result run at an Olympic games. It just seems right.

Phelps, possibly the greatest swimmer ever, is certainly the most prolific Olympic Gold medal winner in history. With a personal tally of 14, at only 23 years of age, he’ll likely add to his haul at the London games in 2012, should he choose to compete there.

However, apart from the jubilation and splashing of fists into the water after he captured his seventh gold by the very tip of his fingernails from Serbian-American swimmer Milorad Cavic, Phelps will be remembered for the total amount of medals he won more so than any of his individual races.

Just days after his electrifying run in the 100m, Bolt came out for the 200m in front of 100,000 fans at the Bird’s Nest stadium. With millions more watching on TV around the world, everyone on them expecting to see another record.

Bolt delivered.

Bolt rounded the bend and roared down the straight and flashed across the finish line in just 19.30 seconds after exploding out of the blocks to smash the world record of 19.32 set by Michael Johnson 12 years ago.

This Bolt of lightning struck twice.
In two races totaling less than 30 seconds, Bolt upstaged the Baltimore superfish.

Bolt’s run in the 100 was astonishing. In an event where hundredths of a second can make all the difference, he even left a few on the clock. If you didn’t know what the term ‘scary-good’ meant before, if you thought it was just one of those sayings of kids these days, then go on Youtube and watch Bolt’s race.

Watch it again and again and then you’ll understand.

Despite annihilating his own record by four-tenths of a second, Bolt could have crossed the line sooner, had he not begun his celebration about 15 meters out.

Perhaps it was arrogance or perhaps it was immaturity from the then 21-year-old speedster, or maybe Bolt is just an old-fashioned showman.

Whatever it was it, he left everyone salivating, screaming for more.

Rather than be overawed by the expectation, Bolt turned in another scintillating performance in the 200M.

This time, he didn't let up. When it was obvious he wasn't going to be overtaken, Bolt was only chasing the record and he got it. Throwing his arms out triumphantly as he crossed the line, Bolt then went over to the crowd, found his family and draped himself in the Jamaican flag again.

Bolt’s performance means that he is the only man ever to break the world record in both sprints in the same Olympics.

His frame and body are supposedly too big for 100m, but perfect for the 200m. You can throw that reasoning out the door now.

For so long, this event had been dominated by stocky, nuggety men with tightly packed muscles with a photo the only way to determine who crossed first.

Bolt starts his races the same way all sprinters do, hunched over in the starting blocks. Only then are his opponents are on equal footing with him.

At the sound of the starter’s gun, Bolt begins his charge, unfurling into a perfect running machine. His long, lanky legs search out the track and gobble it up; like a gazelle, his golden trainers seem to barely touch the surface.

The final stretch for the finish line is usually close …Bolt was so laughably ahead that Buz Aldrin was closer to Neil Armstrong than the other plodders were to Usain.

Bolt was so electrifying, that his glorious run has finally given us an image to supersede Ben Johnson’s controversial one fingered salute when he dashed home in the Seoul games of 1988. In a talent laden field that included 1980’s golden child Carl Lewis, the race became infamous. We now know that Johnson was a cheat, but he was unlikely the only drug fueled runner on that infamous day 20 years ago.

Bolt has confined that image to history and replaced it with his own glorious one.

1 comment:

LA said...

Hi there, My name is Lloyd. I'm with TOsports Magazine a GTA Sports Magazine, much like the Now or Eye it is free. The Rag is a monthly, and distributed to over 200+ locations.

1. I've added you to our BlogRoll, in our Sports Directory.

2. I'd like you to contribute an article for TOsport.ca and The Magazine itself, like you do for BR.

You can get in touch with me TheCaptain@TOsports.ca

thanks, I look forward to your response.

The Captain - Lloyd