Changing China

Giant on the move

Is this the most fun you can have on two legs?

August 22, 2008

Bolt fliesJamaica’s sprinters have pulled off a remarkable trick at the Beijing Games by making running look like the most enjoyable thing you can do standing up.

While speedsters from other nations have looked tense on the track at the Bird’s Nest, Usain Bolt and the women who swept the medals in the 100 metres have clearly been enjoying themselves.

Bolt in particular had the look about him of a Brazilian footballer in the 1970s, toying with the opposition, or West Indies cricketer Viv Richards clattering all comers around the ground.

Here’s what Tyson Gay said about Bolt’s 100m victory celebrations in an interview in Time magazine:

The guy is young. And he’s always joking, playing, never taking anything too seriously. You’ve gotta have fun. Obviously, people have just never seen anyone win by such a margin, or celebrate like that in the 100.

Who wouldn’t want to emulate runners like Bolt, whatever Jacques Rogge might think? We should therefore expect a whole new generation of Jamaican runners to come through. My colleague Simon Evans takes a closer look at that prospect here.

PHOTO: Usain Bolt celebrates winning the men’s 200m final, August 20, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Blake


Usain Bolt’s Performance

Sports is all about the spectacular and the spectacle.. All sports need the flamboyant player or athlete.. As sports enthusiasts, we do not stay up all night to watch (on TV) or pay our hard earned money to go to games just to see someone run or jump or kick a ball. Sporting events are much more than that.

I wonder who is the present World Heavyweight Boxing Champion? Well, most of my friends, who are all sports enthusiasts, do not know and are not bothered that they do not know. Now why is that so? I assure you, that when Mohammed Ali was the World Heavyweight Champion, the entire world knew, and the world cared one way or the other… I WONDER AGAIN, WHAT BOXING WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE WITHOUT THE FLAMBOYANCY OF A MOHAMMED ALI.
!!!! “I am the greatest”!!!! “I am the greatest”!!!!!

Very soon the games of the 29th Olympiad will be vague in our collective memories. It is the outstanding performers and their performances, the spectacle of the games that will remain in our memories.. The sport should embrace these show-men and show-women. Their impact on the sport, in terms of generating interest in the sport, fan involvement, attracting young people to the sport and television “viewership” etc goes far beyond just running and jumping.

Our IOC president has not yet appreciated the impact of these personalities on the sport.

Norman W. Haughton
Kingston Jamaica

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