He knew better than anyone. The talk about Usain Bolt being yesterday’s news in the sprinting world was all wrong. It took him 9.63 seconds over 100 meters to restore the faith in the fastest man to ever place his feat on the track, reminding the world who really is the king of athletics and the Olympic games.
No Yohan Blake and no American opposition, with Tyson Gay crying after finishing out of the medals, Ryan Bailey as well and Justin Gatlin managed third. Bolt’s biggest rival and the man who was supposed to take the mantle from him, Yohan Blake, the fastest man in the world in 2012 before Bolt’s Olympic heroics, finished second. A personal best, but still second.
In all it was an amazing run, with 7 of the 8 runners running 9.98 or faster. Only Asafa Powell, always the tragic figure of 100 meters finals, pulled a muscle before the run was over, finishing at 11.99. The London track was a fast one, everyone knew; the wind was just right, going 1.5 m/s at their backs. Bolt was perfectly focused, at 100%, and when he’s like that, no one on this planet stands a chance.
All the worries after some saying that he was having problems during training; After Blake beat him in the Jamaican trials at the 100 and 200 events. Everything evaporated. Bolt was his charming self as the camera went over the sprinters taking their spot. Nothing indicating that he’s worried about losing his Olympic title, or being pushed down from the throne of the king of athletes. Yohan Blake will get there one day, probably, but it’s still too soon. Bolt has more medals to win, more championships to dominate.
It’s 4 for 4 in Bolt’s Olympic career, after three gold medals in Beijing he’s off to the perfect start, better than anyone imagined, in London. A few months ago, not too many believed Bolt is going to go near the marks he set four and three years ago. Instead, he set a new Olympic record, only 0.05 from his own world record. Expect something similar in the 200 meters, and expect the Jamaican relay team to be in world record form come the end of the Olympics.
Best ever? A subjective question, but we haven’t had an athlete defend his 100 meters title since Carl Lewis in 1984-1988, and that was after Ben Johnson got caught for doping. Bolt is truly special, way above and beyond a passing phenomenon. He proved it with his titles at the world’s in 2009 and 2011, missing out in the 100 probably because of the disqualification. His legend has grown, as impossible as it might seem to some, and he’s not planning on slowing down.
The legendary Don Quarrie had a statue build in his honor outside the Jamaican national stadium. It’s time they start thinking of building one for Bolt as well.