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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Bolt the king during golden age of sprinting

LONDON – This is sports at its best, at its purest, at its most primal. In less than 10 seconds, a massive slice of the globe watches as the fastest men in the world gather to determine the fastest man in the world.

Usain Bolt could refuse to ever again race, and he would still be considered The Sprint King until the 2016 Rio Games. The next sprint race that really matters is four years away.

Bolt had to push himself this time. During his run to gold in Beijing in 2008, Bolt might have been on his way to a 9.5 clocking but wanted to enjoy a show-off stroll the final 10 meters. It was the most dazzling sprint performance in history.

A determined, gifted field forced Bolt to dig this time. He finished in 9.63, edging Jamaican teammates Yohan Blake.

The biggest question in these Olympics? That’s easy. In pubs and restaurants and pressboxes, the most constant discussion was whether Bolt still was blessed with the world’s fastest feet. He had been in a slump, bothered by a sore hamstring, and there were hints Blake had literally passed him by as Mr. Rapid.

But Bolt was only indulging in a light sleep, awaiting the race that truly mattered.

We appear to be living in the Golden Age of sprinting. For a decade or so, the men or women who reigned as sprint kings and queens were under suspicion of doping. It was a sad time in track.
Bolt has brought the smile back. He promises everyone he’s clean, and there’s every reason to believe him. Let’s hope he’s telling the truth. He’s one of the most charismatic, entertaining athletes ever.

The buzz in the stadium was immense. More than 2 million fans had sought tickets for this night, leaving a mere 80,000 to enjoy the show.

Bolt is too lanky to burst out of the gates at top speed. He fell slightly behind, but this is normal for him. Once Bolt hits his stride, nobody can compete with him. He’s too tall, devouring the track with his big strides. By the midway point, it was clear nobody had a chance to dethrone him.

In 1968, Wyomia Tyus became the first sprinter, man or woman, to repeat as 100 champion. Bolt had joined Carl Lewis as the only male 100 repeaters.

Tyus said the key to victory is to wear the speed crown lightly.
“I never let the whole idea of being the fastest woman in the world get me down,” she said.

Bolt follows in that tradition. He’s not burdened by his gifts. He’s having a blast, and so are we.

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