By: Brendan Telfer | Tuesday, August 07, 2012
From the moment he emerged from under the grandstand and on to the track, 'The Usain Bolt Show’ roared into life at Olympic Park last night. Bolt was the main act with his seven rivals all playing decidedly bit parts. First up for the main man, the mandatory Greco-Roman mythical gestures which I suspect are done not just for the entertainment of the masses but have become a necessary mechanism designed to allow Bolt to truly relax and focus on the task in hand - win a 100m race. Immediately after his Greek god impersonations he walks to the back of the track and indulges in a series of deep breathing exercises. Then it's down to business.
Yes there was disappointment that he didn't lower his own world record, but in an odd juxtaposition his time of 9.63 if anything only served to further underline his legendary status. Here's a bloke who while not 100% fit peeled off the second fastest 100m of all time and the fastest 100m ever run at the Olympic Games. At the gun he looked ungainly as he climbed slowly and unconvincingly out of the blocks. He was near the back of the field after 20 metres and for a brief nano-second the Americans must have thought 'at last we are gonna nail this dude'. But if that race proved one thing again it is in these sprints, Bolt owns the last 50 metres of the track. Just no one can stay with him. Oh how Bob Marley must have loved the sight of the second half of that race, from wherever he watched it.
There is no doubt in my mind he would have lowered his world record if he had been fully fit. Over the 200m, the start is not quite so important because the race is longer and you have more time to correct any imperfections from the start. So regardless of his wellbeing, expect him to give his 200m opponents a real scare later in the week.
Bolt's latest triumph has triggered inevitably another of these 'Federer' dilemmas. Is Bolt the greatest of all time? Most experts down at the stadium last night believe he is beyond much doubt. Unfortunately for Federer, comparisons with great players of past eras are odious and full of flaws. How can you compare Federer with Roy Emerson? They never played each other for a start. With sprinters, comparisons are more valid because essentially it's about time. If you run 100m quantifiably faster than anyone else dead or alive, the argument ends right there.
Shortly before Bolt's magic show, Andy Murray finally got his hands on something worthwhile even if it wasn't a grand slam title. Everyone here is delighted for Murray who seems permanently cast in the shadows of tennis' big three. And while it's true tennis has come of age as a genuine Olympic sport in 2012, a title all of the sport's leading competitors aspire to winning, it's still not a grand slam.
Poor old Andy. Just as the British media were about to shower the Scotsman with a deluge of gushing praise, across town a tall thin Jamaican stepped on to the track at the main stadium and the Andy post-Wimbledon bash shrivelled up into nothing. 9.63 seconds after someone fired a gun a few minutes later, Andy's long awaited time in lights had come to a sudden end.
Photo: Getty Images
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