August 22nd, 2009
02:53 PM ET

No words to describe lightning Bolt

Can someone please help me write this blog?!? I am finding it difficult to come up with words to describe what Usain Bolt has done at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin, Germany!

Excuse me if I use simple words like "wow", "amazing", "incredible", and "fantastic"! It's been that kind of run for the man from Jamaica in the German capital.

There are no words that can accurately describe Usain Bolt's achievements in Berlin.
There are no words that can accurately describe Usain Bolt's achievements in Berlin.
The pictures, whether moving or still, tell the story of the might of Bolt. Did you see how the far ahead of the chasing pack he was at the end of the 200 meters final? You could have driven a truck through the chasm! Another race, another gold medal, another world record. Is this getting old for you? It's not me for!

Watching Bolt and you can't help but have a smile on your face. Whether it's his unorthodox pre-race primping to the camera, or his sheer athletic ability once the starter's gun sounds, or the post-race prancing around the track interacting with fans lucky enough to get front-row seats to history. Bolt is a very likeable champion.

The crowd is something that excites Bolt as well. He's said that all he wants to do is have fun. Here's betting he's having a blast right about now.

I just conducted a phone interview with United States sprinter Shawn Crawford. He's the guy who finished fourth behind Bolt in Thursday's 200 meters final at the worlds. I asked him what he meant when he said that he felt like he was in a video game out there on the track. Crawford compared the race to playing a simulated athletics game on your home big screen television. You know, when the times are simply "stupid"! I think we all know what Crawford means.

I also wanted to know whether, as a competitor, Crawford thought what Bolt is doing is good for athletics. He immediately said "yes". The American sprinter said that his Jamaican counterpart is bringing added attention to his sport.

Just think, if a talent like Bolt wasn't in Berlin do you really think that we'd be talking as much about the World Athletics Championships like we have been?

That's no slight to the hundreds of athletes who train day after day in their homelands to achieve personal or team glory. But, what Bolt has done has caught the attention and the imagination of millions around the world. Athletics, for so long, was in need of a star as bright as the 23-year-old to put the sport back onto the front burner.

Usain Bolt is someone who constantly wears a smile on his face. He's brought smiles to those of us who can only marvel at his extraordinary talents on the track.

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August 18th, 2009
05:06 PM ET

Lightning will strike again ... and soon

“I’m really happy that Usain broke the record.” Huh? Those, surprisingly, were the words of United States sprinter Tyson Gay after he, and the rest of us, watched the Jamaican smash another 100-meters world record at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin.

The man, the legend, Jamaica's Usain Bolt.
The man, the legend, Jamaica's Usain Bolt.

O.K. let’s add some context to Gay’s comment. The American had a front row seat to history in the German capital as he finished runner-up to Bolt in the “world’s” marquee race. While battling through the pain of a groin injury, Gay still blazed a personal best and U.S. record time of 9.71 seconds. This, of course, paled in comparison to Bolt’s lightning-fast winning time of 9.58 seconds. Gay, the second fastest human on the planet, told reporters: “I knew it was humanly possible for someone to run that fast. Unfortunately, it wasn’t me.”

What Bolt is doing is something we might not see achieved on the track for a long, long time to come, if ever. The Jamaican is pushing the limits of the human body and he appears to be doing it with the greatest of ease.

After twice interviewing the 22-year-old during last year’s Olympic Games in Beijing, there are a couple of traits that I believe contribute to his continued success. First, Bolt is lanky - 6 feet, 5 inches tall to be exact (1.9558 meters). Long legs create quite an advantage when a sprinter strides down the track.

Bolt is also one of the most laid back individuals that you’ll ever meet. Youthful exuberance when competing in the high-pressure world of athletics goes a long way in remaining cool while the heat is on. Bolt has this happy-go-lucky personality synonymous with someone raised in the Caribbean. In fact, he does care very much about what he’s doing and wants to be known someday as a living legend. Many think that he’s already achieved that goal but Bolt disagrees. Speaking in Berlin after once again doing the amazing in the 100, the sprinter said that he doesn’t think he can reach legendary status in just two seasons of glory. He said that it comes with being consistent year in and year out and with hard work.

So, how low can he go? Perhaps the best is yet to come. Bolt is on record as saying that he thinks he can take the 100-meters world record down to 9.4 seconds. Put me in the category of believers!

It may sound hard to believe but Bolt says that he doesn’t run for world records, he just keeps on working. Well, what he’s doing IS working and we are all benefiting from it as fans of athletics.

Sure, he’s not the most humble of characters, what with his trademark “lightning bolt” stance and his playful antics toward the track side television cameras. But, Bolt is hard not to like. What he’s done over the past couple of years is bring much needed personality to a sport that has lacked it of late. Couple his playful nature with his uncanny ability to wipe out world records in 30-something steps and the sky is the limit for Usain Bolt who, like lightning, will strike again very soon.

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Filed under:  Athletics
August 14th, 2009
03:32 PM ET

Bolt the history maker

One year ago, I was witness to a number of incredible sporting achievements in the Chinese capital.

The opening week of the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing, belonged to Michael Phelps. The United States swimmer capturing our imaginations with his incredible, gold medal-winning performances in the pool.

Usain Bolt looks unstoppable ahead of this upcoming world athletics championships in Berlin.
Usain Bolt looks unstoppable ahead of this upcoming world athletics championships in Berlin.

If Phelps whet our collective appetites, then Usain Bolt delivered the dessert!

The Jamaican sprinter closed out the Beijing Games with a bang…three races, three world records, three Olympic gold medals.

A year later, at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin, Bolt is ready to defend his title as “World’s Fastest Man”. It is not likely that he will leave Germany disappointed.

Proclaiming that he is in the best shape of his life, defending world champion Tyson Gay is prepared to give Bolt the challenge that he never had in Beijing.

The anticipated Bolt-Gay Olympic showdown did not materialized after the American pulled a hamstring muscle in the U.S. Olympic trails. Berlin provides Gay a platform to show that he can give Bolt a “run for his money”.

The last time these two men met was in May 2008. It proved to be Bolt’s coming out party. While previously running in relative anonymity, Bolt burst onto the scene that night in New York with the first of his two world records in the 100-meters. Gay has been playing second fiddle ever since.

It would probably be for the good of athletics if Bolt had some real competition. Then again, don’t we wish that for other sports? Who has stepped up to tame Tiger Woods in golf? Why hasn’t anyone halted, or even slowed, the Roger Federer Express in men’s tennis?

Tyson Gay doesn’t sound intimated by Usain Bolt and he’s quick to give the Jamaican his “props”. But, until he proves otherwise, Gay will always have to hear that that he is a good but not a great sprinter.

Last month, before a meet in London, Bolt told a reporter that on his best day he doesn’t think that Gay can beat him. The Jamaican has had a number of “great” days over the past year. There’s no reason to believe that he won’t enjoy a satisfying stay in the German capital.

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