Giant on the move
Criticism of Bolt is hard to fathom
Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, chided Usain Bolt on Thursday for showing a lack of respect to his rivals after his sprint double at the Beijing Games.
Maybe it’s a generational thing but I doubt if a single person lucky enough to be in the Bird’s Nest on for his 200 metres gold and world record on Wednesday, or when he won his 100 metres in such audacious style, would agree.
“I think he should show more respect, shake hands, give a tap on the shoulder to the other ones. Not making gestures like the one he made in the 100 metres,” Rogge said on Thursday. “He still has to mature. I would love him to show more respect to his competitors. He should learn that he should shake hands with competitors.”
We have discussed on the blog the rights and wrongs of the Jamaican’s “premature” celebrations as he crossed the line in the 100 — creating one of the iconic images of the Games.
But surely nobody could point the finger about the 200. Bolt was deadly serious about not only completing the sprint double but also taking Michael Johnson’s world record, which he did by running right through the line to clock 19.30 seconds.
Bolt obliged perfectly, smiling, laughing, dancing and posing — to the delight of the fans who repaid the compliment by singing “happy birthday” ahead of him turning 22 today.
Bolt then spent almost an hour talking patiently to TV crews, before facing the hysterical written press in the mixed zone, then sitting down and going over it all again in the news conference.
He earned respect from everyone who saw him, including finalist Kim Collins who said: “He gave us a brutal ass-kicking.”
Rogge wants him to mature, and he is a year older today than when he won the 200, but for the next generation of athletics fans that the sport is desperate to attract, Bolt is pure gold and the officials should recognise and embrace that.
PHOTO: (TOP): Bolt celebrates gold and a world record in the 200m. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
PHOTO (BOTTOM): Bolt crosses the finish line to win the 200m. REUTERS/Hans Deryk