Changing China

Giant on the move

Was Bolt celebration over the top?

By Sean Maguire
August 18, 2008

Bolt celebratesWas Usain Bolt’s theatrical exuberance before, during and after his 100 metres final appropriate for a man who gave a devastating performance that broke his own world record?

Or was it indulgent, inappropriate and over the top?

Do we want our sportspeople to be modest personalities whose performances do the talking?

Or is showboating and swagger part of the big game experience, key to both the entertainment we crave and the self-belief needed to win at the top level?

Sprinters are not known for being shy, retiring people but a touch of braggadocio is needed by people who explode in intense effort for a few seconds, adrenaline and energy coursing through them, and must then run off their brain-popping endorphins in victory laps or a disappointed jog to the dressing room.

Even so, Bolt’s dancing, gesturing, chest thumping and shoe kissing has divided opinion. Did he go too far?

Was it all a tease to excite us ahead of the 200 metres sprint, Bolt’s favourite race, which he is now hot favourite to win on Wednesday night? Or is the 21-year-old Jamaican such a brilliant athlete he is entitled to his histrionics and we owe it to him just to admire?

Some commentators felt he made a mockery of the race, literally and figuratively. Others chided him for clowning around. Egotistic, said one blogger. Disrepectful, said others. He missed an opportunity to truly devestate the world record by slowing up before the finish, said one fellow athlete.

Others made humorous lists about what Bolt could have done in the spare time he had at the end of his sprint. Text his agent, was the suggestion in one U.S. newspaper.

Charges of hubris come fastest when the celebrations start before the athlete is over the finish line. Is it more acceptable in endurance sports, where a competitor is clearly ahead, has already earned the victory and can be forgiven for wanting to amplify the moment of joy?

snowsillTriathlete Emma Snowsill had time to collect an Australian flag more than a 100 metres from the finish and drape herself in that and the finish line banner to celebrate her triumph in the Beijing women’s triathlon. But she was leading by more than a minute. Bolt was leading by two tenths of a second or so.

Despite Bolt’s outstanding form I will be watching the 200 metres carefully, mindful of the famous pratfalls of sport, where a competitor has their arms raised in triumph, medal in the bag, only for a rival to sweep past them at the end.

I was reminded of snowboarder Lindsay Jacobellis who was set for gold in the Turin Olympics. She tried to show off on a jump and crashed out of first place. I hope the laidback Jamaican looks carefully over his shoulder.  

Comments

To those who judge I say “Don’t be a hater!” If dancing, getsuring, chest thumping, chest baring and shoe kissing are all acceptable ways to celebrate in other sports namely football(soccer)why is it negatively labelled in track events? What of the numerous times that David Beckham, John Terry, Thierry Henry and many other sportsmen from the UK celebrated their victory in a similar fashion? Shall I go even further and mention Peter Crouch’s celebratory robotic dances during the World Cup Germany? Are these people even remotely modest? They’re getting paid huge sums per week only to fall out of ridiculously expensive nightclubs & swanky hotel rooms ‘legless’ with a swarm hangers-on and wanna-be celebrity females while they publicly disgrace their wives and children at home. Is that your idea of modesty?

YES! The 21-year-old Jamaican IS such a brilliant athlete he IS entitled to his histrionics and we DO owe it to him JUST ADMIRE!! To say he was being egotistic disrespectful or making a mockery of the race is totally and utterly foolish and unfair. And as for the ‘fellow athlete who thought he missed an opportunity to truly devastate the world record by slowing up before the finish,just let him be. Mr. Bolt made it pretty clear to all of us that he was not thinking about breaking records. He was thinking about winning and he did! Besides he broke his own record in the process so all the more to celebrate.

Would the comments have been the same if he represented Great Britain? I am most certain they wouldn’t have. Instead his dance would have been named ‘Rock the Bolt’ or something of the sort.

I think there is something wrong with this picture and these commentators should take a second look. Let us just give the praises as deserved and stop being so critical of people’s actions. He performed well and was very jubilant and rightfully so. Let the man celebrate in his own way.

Us Jamaicans are always harshly critisised both for the good and the bad. For the latter I can comprehend but is this really necessary for the former?

Usain Bolt has done us proud and that’s a positive headliner as it stands. Come on now let’s face it…it’s not that easy to go faster than this powerful Bolt of lightening that is Usain! Whatever your opinion it’s gold for Jamaica. We likkle but we talawa so deal with it!

So what’s the story/criticism behind our girls’ 100m triumphant clean sweep? Haven’t thought of one yet have you? Didn’t think so…

Anyway we’re still on top so we’re still showing One Love even to the haters.

One Love & guidance,
Nova

Posted by Nova | Report as abusive
 

To those who judge I say “Don’t be a hater!” If dancing, getsuring, chest thumping, chest baring and shoe kissing are all acceptable ways to celebrate in other sports namely football(soccer)why is it negatively labelled in track events? What of the numerous times that David Beckham, John Terry, Thierry Henry and many other sportsmen from the UK celebrated their victory in a similar fashion? Shall I go even further and mention Peter Crouch’s celebratory robotic dances during the World Cup Germany? Are these people even remotely modest? They’re getting paid huge sums per week only to fall out of ridiculously expensive nightclubs & swanky hotel rooms ‘legless’ with a swarm hangers-on and wanna-be celebrity females while they publicly disgrace their wives and children at home. Is that your idea of modesty?

YES! The 21-year-old Jamaican IS such a brilliant athlete he IS entitled to his histrionics and we DO owe it to him to JUST ADMIRE!! To say he was being egotistic disrespectful or making a mockery of the race is totally and utterly foolish and unfair. And as for the ‘fellow athlete’ who thought he missed an opportunity to truly devastate the world record by slowing up before the finish, just let him be. Mr. Bolt made it pretty clear to all of us that he was not thinking about breaking records. He was thinking about winning and he did! Besides he broke his own record in the process so all the more to celebrate.

Would the comments have been the same if he represented Great Britain? I am most certain they wouldn’t have. Instead his dance would have been named ‘Rock the Bolt’ or something of the sort.

I think there is something wrong with this picture and these commentators should take a second look. Let us just give the praises as deserved and stop being so critical of people’s actions. He performed well and was very jubilant and rightfully so. Let the man celebrate in his own way.

Us Jamaicans are always harshly critisised both for the good and the bad. For the latter I can comprehend but is this really necessary for the former?

Usain Bolt has done us proud and that’s a positive headliner as it stands. Come on now let’s face it…It’s not that easy to go faster than this powerful Bolt of lightening that is Usain! Whatever your opinion it’s gold for Jamaica. We likkle but we talawa so deal with it!

So what’s the story/criticism behind our girls’ 100m triumphant clean sweep? Haven’t thought of one yet have you? Didn’t think so…

Anyway we’re still on top so we’re still showing One Love even to the haters.

One Love & guidance,
Novalyn Williams

Posted by Nova | Report as abusive
 

One cant say that he’s over the top cause it takes a great effort to win a race.

Posted by mackanrow | Report as abusive
 

Usain never over celebrated, he was quite dignified in his behaviour. The US television channels may not have showen you everything. However us in the UK got the full show. Usain was actually hugging the crowd and the crowds was hugging him back. It was a beautiful sight he was so over joyed. I was so proud as you could actually see the innocence in him. He was dancing like a child. It was a beautiful sight to see; he made me very proud and no doubt his mother must have been elated.

If we compare his conduct to previous winners such as Maurice Green and the rest of his team the arrogance of shirts off and showing muscles everywhere like they were HE men.. I would say disgusting. Even Michael Johnson commented on his fellow American behaviour as in appropriate.

Leave the young man alone; let him enjoy his win. As we say IN STYLE AND PATTERN. Also let face it the young man could have broken the WR even in less time if he was not celebrating before he reach the line. USA shut up… BY the way why do the USA always cut sport events short whe they know they have not won….

SAYS a lot about that country that is run by the dollar BILL… SORE LOSERS.

Posted by Marcel | Report as abusive
 

Don’t hate! Leave the Olympic youth alone. He deserves it. He can dance and sing across the finish line for all I care. Let him celebrate in all his glory. Until you have run 9.69 in a man’s shoes, keep it moving! Why don’t you try running When was the last time you broke an Olympic world record? I rest my case.

 

The world needs more love and exuberance. Bolt’s performance shows someone who’s not afraid to show his true emotions. Please allow him to freely express his joyful triumph. People stop hating, let LOVE into your hearts. Visit Jamaica feel the love and you’ll probably better understand the passion. The olympics is a celebration of humanities best athletes from all corners of the globe, not just the big eight or whatever. ONE LOVE!

Posted by Geraldine | Report as abusive
 

Chest Thumping = I did it!
The dancing = self expression
He’s a natural joker. He’s a kid. He’s allowed to celebrate.
He did something fantastic. He and his teammates have been probed and prodded by every tester. He went in to prove to the world that Jamaicans can do it. When the US folks do it, I don’t hear an outcry. (Think Maurice Green).Don’t be haters. He deserved his win. It’s his first gold medal. He can dance if he wants to. He has the talent, let him be.

Posted by JamaicanGirl | Report as abusive
 

white folks, just look at it as a cultural difference.
jamaica has a vibrant culture. its people are vibrant and vivacious. we all celebrate in different ways.
let him be. he did the dance the sweep cuz he swept the tracks. get over it!

Posted by Yolan | Report as abusive
 

People are gonna always have a problem with something…allow the man to celebrate…can’t please everyone…give the man his moments…Muhammed Ali was one of the biggest show-offs ever…but guess what he sticks out in the mind…let him dance and prance, when did track and field become so stiff…?…wouldn’t u feel like dancing if you broke a world record, and got Olympic Gold?….i would…lol

Posted by s-mack | Report as abusive
 

I agree with Nova. People with small minds who cannot even muster up the energy to wink in the time that Bolt smashed the 100metres are quick to criticise. There is nothing repulsive about the authenticity of his run and therefore again the proverbial ‘hater’ glances from the central thing (running) to what is ancillary (celebration). Whatever you say, you cannot erase anything from history though I guess you wish you could. Perhaps you should take note and learn a dance move or two ’cause Bolt is going to strike soon!!

Also such a myopic pen you have. This girl you have scarcely mentioned in the article (because just a paragraph was inserted to make your article seem credible)if there was a trial, she is equally guilty. Who collects a flag before finishing the race? Some burst of speed person could have come and crashed that party.

Just make sure that you are awake when Bolt sets his next record be it in Beijing or any where in the world.

Posted by Lisa | Report as abusive
 

times are a changing nova! and this is just more proof, for those who need it.

it was a matter of time. nations rise and fall, world records….criticism comes and goes…

i read the article and i think the magnitude of what happened on the track on Saturday hasn’t yet fully registered in the minds of many people, and definitely not in the minds the people who’re criticizing–they’ll need time to reflect (perhaps even years). yet the facts are the facts and everything else is just interpretation, more or less accurate, but just an interpretation and in some cases, perhaps subjective and influenced by a bruised ego. but the fact remains: Bolt won gold AND created a new world record in the 100m right there, for the whole world to see. he won the medal in his style. he ran the race.
some of these same reporters seem to develop momentary amnesia–they forget we now live in a mediatic world, where everybody is becoming media savvy–anyone with access to the media can now make a statement, get their message across, milk the moment. here in Europe & Spain we got the wideangle picture (different, i take it, from the Americans), and the spanish commentators–a very emotional bunch they are, where so excited about the win, it was as if Bolt was running for Spain.

and about him dancing–a lesson on Contemporary Jamaican culture is definitely due- yes he was celebrating, and his dance isn’t ANY dance-it has a name: Nuh Linga-a history and a context (something i know at least the Spanish commentators didn’t catch). yes, perhaps athletes could use their screen presence to educate the viewers and especially the so called “reporters” (god knows they need it!)… but athletes are athletes and their talk is their actions–the race. why do people always want more? feel it their responsibility to demand more? it’s not just about beating world records, winning, it’s also about just enjoying. and who are they to say how he could have finished differently, and criticise his way of celebrating. how many of us know from direct experience what it’s like to be in these guy’s shoes? how many of us have ever run 100m?

and if he was kissing his boots…so what? he was also running barefooted and there are many readings in that! and if puma put their money where their mouth is, then so be it. it’s positive. let other brands look and learn. and if Bolt and other athletes turn down USA’s big money & promises and decide to stay and train at home, run for their country- something which i think urks more than a few egos, that’s positive! it brings wealth and prestige to a people and that’s how some nations harness their human capital (their true assets)–take for example Brazil and her football players. i truly hope that other developing nations read the positive messages from the race because it’s authentic and powerful. and that’s the reason those who criticize rush to criticise, perhaps.

human potential-we hear about it all the time, but on Saturday millions of people actually saw it LIVE! Potential to succeed, to go beyond the limit of our physical register (how many said he was too tall to be a 100m sprinter?), potential for joy and celebration and sharing with others. i liked that he ran up to the people and was hugging the people–we usually see them running, flag above head around the stadium. here he was with the people and you could see not only his joy but theirs as well!!!

Oh! and by the way…observe how Bolt was breathing. i do yoga and when i saw how he was breathing i was amazed–his was doing correct breathing. it just happens, effortlessly, naturally if you don’t try to control it–in yoga we talk about the dynamics of intergrity and one of the manifestations of the dynamics of intergrity is expressed in the breathing-use of the minimum effort, necessary, possible in any movement. for me he was applying this. and look at how the other runners, running as if at the top of the limits…observe how they were breathing, their facial muscles. breath is the foundation. and for me this is another reading i got out of the race. he was breathing correctly, he had everything down, and that’s also why it SEEMED like he breezed through it. ha ha. ..i laugh at the haters, the unbelievers, but i also have compassion for them because they are merely expressing what they perceive. we all grow and evolve; they will too.

i say thanks to Bolt for a truly precious 9.69 second reminder of the beauty of life in motion.

onelove

Posted by seis calderon | Report as abusive
 

This article clearly misses the point of celebration. If Usain is pointed out for his over-the-top chest thumping and celebration then Phelps who I admire needs to be scrutinized as well. When Phelps broke numerous records I remembered clearly that he was chest thumping and jumping up and down as well going into the crowd to hug his family members. I see no problem with what Usain did. I believe his actions and jubilant spirit was in the right place and should not be construed as unsportmanlike. H

Posted by Kerry | Report as abusive
 

For anyone who thinks he was being over the top….he had every reason to….and he did it ‘DRUG FREE’. I can’t see what the big hoopla is about. A man who sets world record have every right to celebrate, and who the hell think they have the right to determines how he does it. When you can break a world record, only then can you truly understand what goes on in the mind of such a person. Have you broken any?

Posted by Alisha | Report as abusive
 

I can honestly say right now that i am appalled at this article!! EXTREMELY APPALLED!!!

Never in my life have I witnessed such an inability to understand someone’s joy…particularly at an event of such magnitude!! HE IS 21 YEARS OLD AND HAS RUN THE FASTEST TIME EVER FOR THE 100METRES!!! AT THE OLYMPICS!!! Of course he deserves to celebrate!!!

I agree with Nova 100% as well as a lot of the others who have commented before…why is it that we have not heard admonitions against Phelps or Warner of the USA and their shouts of joy when winning their races? Is it just me or does anyone else sense something in the air here…???

I dont know about anyone else…BUT I, A PROUD JAMAICAN, SALUTE USAIN BOLT AND ALL OUR OTHER ATHLETES!!! Continue to work hard as we go for GOLD!!!

Posted by Appalled Morgan - A PROUD JAMAICAN! | Report as abusive
 

To all the haters, deal with it. He deserves and has the right to celebrate. Did anyone criticize Maurice Green or carl lewis when they did the same? didn’t michael phelps did the same in the relays? had it been an american would he had been criticized in the same manner?i think not.u have to understand that jamaicans and west indians on a whole are a jubilant group of ppl who love to have a good time. let the man enjoy his moment. he wasn’t going for a world record cos he owns that at present. he could have ran faster if he wanted to and the world knows it. watch out for him in the 200m and the relays cos lightning will strike again and yes he will dance again. he na linga!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

its hard for criticizing countries to not look like they have a bad case of sour grapes but I’m afraid that’s the case.
If I was 21 and the fastest man in the world I would cartwheel across the finish line. Let’s just celebrate and appreciate that we have seen history made.

 

Bolt enters Olympic lore that will be talked about for years to come. The final meters were the exuberance and joy or a 21 year old who happens to be fastest man in the history of the planet leaving the field that included the second fastest man ever to walk the earth. Bob Costas and other critics need to get over it. Running sprints at 6’5″ Bolt is beauty personified.

 

Let him brag let him boast.Did anyone comment on Gatlin & Shawn Crawford in the 2004 Olympics when they ran and chatted? Bolt did something that made himself and Jamaicans proud.”Fox can’t get the grapes him say it sour”. If it were U.S.A. Great Britain or some other first world country, oh it would have been a great performance!You critics are just bad mind and grudgeful but you have seen nothing yet. There are a few more records,dances and poses to come. Sit,watch,and enjoy Jamaican athletes succeed DRUG FREE and join in the celebration. We’ll make a video and ensure all of you get a copy as a souvenir.

Posted by sandra murray | Report as abusive
 

So Americans are officially getting on my nerves with all their begging and criticizing. Didn’t y’all have athletes that bragged and boasted in the past? Even the ones who won races with the help of drugs, they were so full of themselves. Usain Bolt, is 21. He’s young. So what if he wants to celebrate, he’s entitled. I think you guys are just sore losers. That’s simply it. So you try to put us down in every way just to make your sorry doped up selves feell better. It’s Jamaica’s time to be on top. America, go take a back seat and leave the young athletes alone. They’re doing what you guys should have been doing in years gone by- winning races DRUG FREE. Nobody else anywhere in the world shows off as nuch as the ‘great Americans’. So leave us small islands alone. Get over it.

Posted by JamaicanGirl | Report as abusive
 

JAMAICA TO DI WORL!!!!!!!!

Posted by JamaicanGirl | Report as abusive
 

I think athletes are allowed to be human and even over the top in celebrating their victories… I, ANOTHER PROUD JAMAICAN, salute Usain Bolt’s phenomenal performance and wish him all the best!!

 

Usain did it…and I say to my other Jamaican athletes…do it too… Celebrate as much as you want…you deserve it and once you do not cross the line in your celebration, which I don’t think Bolt did, don’t change no course…FULL speed ahead! To the worl’ :)

Posted by Sajoune | Report as abusive
 

Everyone needs to stop hating!
The biggest showboaters in track & field has always been the US Team. Come on people, think back to the last three olympics and it became so bad, most of you looked away in disgust at the way they behaved.

Track is known for showboaters, you’re all just mad now because it’s not the US doing it.

He’s 21 years old and acted like one. With his in-experience he doesn’t care about records yet, he just wants to win, and he did.

Get over it and move on.

Posted by fee | Report as abusive
 

The Bolt of lightening struck again (Who says lightening does not strike the same place twic?) and this time there can be no accusations of disrespect to the sports. In fact it was a total demolishion of the 200m World Record held, by the distinguished American Michael Johnson. Gold number three in the 4 X 100m. Big up Jamaica again Mr Bolt!

 

The position Bolt was in when he started celebrating was equivalent to the minute lead that Triathlete Emma Snowsill had when she started celebrating. It actually would probably convert to more than a minute.

Posted by A Nava | Report as abusive
 

The writers of the criticisms of young Usain Bolt should really, really stop hating!! Bolt is young, gifted and Jamaican … Jamaicans are not like anyone else in the world …we are different, we are special and we do our own thing. Notice that he is not sticking his tongue out and menacing his opponents like Maurice Greene; nor tearing his shirt like countless other American athletes … he is just being a young Jamaican man!! Dancing, clowning around and not behaving as though he is carrying the cure for cancer in his running shoes .. he is having fun.

He is a great young man … a wonderful, free spirit .. and we love him … the rest of you as we say here in Jamaica …”just hug it up!”

You cannot stop this bolt of lightening!

Posted by Carmen Clarke | Report as abusive
 

The metamorphosis of usain Bolt is complete. Today, we honour a giant among men.. a god no less. If you thought the 100m world record performance of Usain Bolt earlier in the week was super-human, we wonder what you’d say if you’d watched the 200m. It was a revelation. The sort that the gods deem us fit to behold once in an age. “Extraordinary”, “surreal”, other-worldly”"… those are the words that best describe the experience of the grace that this god has bestowed on us.How then can mere mortal sit idly by talking about showboating when we have a god amongst us!

 

“Triathlete Emma Snowsill had time to collect an Australian flag more than a 100 metres from the finish and drape herself in that and the finish line banner to celebrate her triumph in the Beijing women’s triathlon. But she was leading by more than a minute. Bolt was leading by two tenths of a second or so.”

What kind of crock is this? So if Usain was leading by a second or two are you claiming you wouldn’t have a problem? But because he was only leading for .20 sec you do. In other words if Bolt had given them even a worse beating he would have been entitled to celebrate. So here we see the glaring contradiction demonstrated by the press. Can’t you see the rubbish you engage in when you attempt to distinguish? The fact is since you are recognizing that many athletes do in fact enjoy their victory now and in the past you are seeking to find differences to justify your criticism of Bolt and you end up looking silly. Believe me Sir, like Snowsill when Usain started to celebrate he had already earned his victory and you would have noted in the 200 he could have somersaulted, called his mother, father, girlfriend ate a meal of yam, green bananas and ackee and saltfish washed down by some Milo and he still would have won given the brutal ass kicking acknowledged by his competitor Kim Collins. No need to look over his shoulder.

No one had a problem with this Australian woman and rightly so but Usain with his pure unadulterated joy has to take licks. It really begs the question, what is at work here? I wonder if it were an Australian aborigine if the press would have analyzed it differently.

Incredibly Usain has continued to shine, oblivious to the nonsensical utterances of the ignorant. I love his trademark pose. To the Worl’!!!!!!

 

Let the kid dance!

Posted by Enthusiast | Report as abusive
 

come on stop hating…. if he was a white kid somersaulting would this arrticle be written…. it seems to me that those left behind our backs always got something to say about us…….. as far as im concerned he coulda done the butterfly.he deserved it…… and he also deseved to finish the race anyhow he saw fit…. cha man.. just be happy fo a brother

Posted by susan | Report as abusive
 

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