Giant on the move
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt completed a breathtaking sprint double at the Beijing Games on Wednesday, breaking the 200 metres world record that many had thought unbreakable to take his second Olympic gold medal.
The contrast between this and his winning run in the 100 could hardly have been more marked, as this time he gave it everything he had to go under the old best mark, Michael Johnson’s 19.32, by two hundredths of a second.
While Bolt had ambled through the final quarter of the 100, and easily lowered the world record to 9.69, this time he was grimacing with effort as he made for the finish.
There was no one within two, three metres of him as he dipped for the line, glanced over at the clock and leapt with joy as the clock stopped at 19.31.
Was 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?
Fraser finished ahead of Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson, who dead-heated for silver in a Jamaican clean sweep at the Bird’s Nest on Sunday.
As Usain Bolt coasted past my press seat in a burst of speed and swagger on Saturday night, splaying his arms and pumping his chest as he crossed the 100 metres finish line, it was just the buzz everyone had promised me from my first Olympics.
I was there to report on the atmosphere at the Games’ blue riband event, but involuntarily found myself screaming encouragement, then laughing in joy and awe. As he ran around the track in delighted celebration, I was close to tears.
Usain Bolt’s 100m triumph at the Bird’s Nest will surely be one of those sporting moments that stay in the collective memory for decades.
As anyone who was there, or who saw the TV pictures, will attest, Bolt could have put in an even quicker time than his new world record of 9.69 seconds, had he not started celebrating with 20 metres to go (it’s down to yam power, according to his family).
Usain Bolt of Jamaica won the Olympic 100 metres on Saturday, shattering the world record in the process with a time of 9.69 seconds.
Bolt thumped his chest in celebration as he crossed the line, after leaving Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago (silver) and American Walter Dix (bronze) trailing at the Bird’s Nest Stadium.
Until today I would not have thought it possible that somebody could amble 100 metres in 9.92 seconds but that is what Usain Bolt did in his second heat of the event on the first day of athletics action in the Bird’s Nest.
The gods had been kind and produced a clear-skied day hot day with minimum breeze and Bolt enjoyed his time in the sun.
The athletics is underway, at last, and the three favourites Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay all came safely through their heats this morning.
This is the race everyone will be talking to in the build-up to Saturday’s final so we thought we’d give you the chance to sound like an expert without have to leaf through the record books.
There was a classic moment at a media conference with 100 metres world record holder Usain Bolt today. Bolt’s coach told Reuters last week that the Jamaican would run the 100m as well as the 200m but he seemed unaware of the fact on Tuesday.
“I still have to decide,” he said, before being informed of his coach’s comment.
Russell Boyce writes: Great contacts and hard work led to Reuters News Pictures photographer Hans Deryk getting exclusive pictures of Usain Bolt, the 100m world record holder at the National Stadium.
The simple picture of Bolt posing with the specially made gold running shoes that he will wear when he aims for Olympic gold are a perfect blend of a sports news value with timing and place. After all, how much better could it get: the fastest man, being seen for the first time at the venue with is new running shoes.