Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Usain Bolt is Unbelievable

Usain Bolt strikes twice in Beijing, completing an unprecedented world-record double with a mind-boggling 19.30 in the 200-meter final.

Even former Olympic champ and world-record holder Michael Johnson, who lost what I assumed was a nearly unbreakable mark in the 200, is dumbfounded by the breakout performance of the 21-year-old Bolt.

Consider that before Johnson ran the record-setting 19.32 in 1996, the previous mark was 19.72. And it stood for 24 years.

It's tough to know what Bolt might have done to the record had someone actually been around near the finish line to push him - second place in the race finished more than a half-second behind Bolt, which is a virtual blowout in Olympic-level sprints.

Thing is, Bolt might never have a serious rival - much like boxer Roy Jones Jr. in his mid-1990s prime. Bolt is racing only against the clock and the limits of the human body. Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell were never contenders- and, really, there's no shame in that. It's funny to think that, only a couple weeks ago, some observers thought Bolt might finished third of that trio in the 100 given his lack of international experience.

Like most other things, Bolt quickly put those doubts to rest.

As a note, the great thing about the Olympics is the opportunity to read about events from newspapers in other parts of the world. Sometimes, the American-centered coverage doesn't give us quite the significance of events that we're not winning.

Take for example, this piece from a Jamaican newspaper that takes issue with people criticizing Bolt for "showboating" in the 100-meter final.

Also, The Times Online - from the UK - fills us in on the rapid rise of Bolt.

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