Friday, August 21, 2009

Bolt becomes the world's fastest metaphor

The guy's last name is Bolt; how could he not be the fastest ever?

Last year at the Beijing Olympics, Usain Bolt took the 100m and 200m World Records away from the rest of the world for a decade. This week in Berlin at the World Championships he took them away for a generation.

I will not be surprised if they stand for 30 years. Unless, of course, he breaks them.

His 100m run of 9.58 sec was amazing. Never in my dreams had I thought we would be that close to 9 1/2 seconds. Consider - his run has suddenly made running the 100 in 10 secs common place; dull if you will. But as great as that was, his 200m run in 19.19 sec was something else completely. It was scary. He destroyed the field, and destroyed history.

He also destroys logic. It doesn't seem possible that anyone can be that good, and so your mind searches for an answer, and because this is athletics you find one in drugs. Now, I have to say I don't think he is on anything except incredible genes. Bolt, like Thorpe, Tiger Woods, Federer and Phelps had been seen from a young age as something special. When he was 15 he won the World Junior 200m (for those 19 and under), so it's not like he came from nowhere. But where he has gone is nowhere anyone else has been or will be going any time soon.

For athletics fans, watching him run is spine tingling stuff. You know watching him you will be telling your grandkids that there was never anyone as fast as Bolt.

He will now likely give the 400m a go. Currently his best is 45.28 sec. No person has ever broken 45 secs for the 400m, 20 secs for the 200m and 10 secs for the 100m. (Michael Johnson's best 100m was 10.09 secs). Bolt would be short odds to not only do that, but also most likely break 44 secs for the 400m (if not Johnson's WR). What is more scary however, is the thought that he might also break 9.5 secs for the 100m and 19 secs for the 200m.

If he were to do that, he would not so much have changed his sport as created a new one.

Were I a 20 year old sprinter, I'd probably think about becoming a long jumper, and pray Bolt doesn't start paying attention to the sand pit.

Below is his 200m final (with German commentary). It is the sporting moment of the year - a man touching the extremes which humans can achieve, and leaving a void behind him.

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