Bolt’s dominance rebuilds athletics’ reputation
USAIN BOLT picked up his second gold medal at the World Athletics Championship yesterday with a dominant performance in the 200m.
This was also Bolt’s second world record of the event, his 19.19sec following a 9.56sec in the 100m.
In any other sport Bolt’s dominance would be boring.
But instead he has saved athletics.
Before the emergence of Bolt the sport was at its lowest ebb.
A succession of champion sprinters – Justin Gatlin, Tim Montgomery, Marion Jones – were facing lengthy drug bans, after being kicked out of the sport in disgrace.
From the ruins one man emerged to save the sport, becoming a global sporting icon in the process, so expect to see him advertising shaving products with Tiger Woods and Roger Federer very soon.
Tyson Gay is a very good sprinter, the fastest American of all time and his 9.71sec would have won every 100m race in history, except for the Olympic final and Sunday’s race.
But he was made to look very ordinary by Bolt in the 100m final.
That however was nothing compared to the destruction of his 200m rivals.
Bolt has not only transformed the times, he has also changed the way sprinters approach their races.
Gone is the posturing of three-times 100m world champion Maurice Greene, attempting to win the pre-race mind games.
Bolt does not need to psyche his opponents out, because he knows he is better than them.
Before the 100m final he was shadow-boxing with one of his main rivals for the gold medal, Jamaican teammate Usafa Powell.
Bolt will probably win another gold medal in Sunday’s 4x100m relay, but may not claim another world record, as he is hampered by having to run with three other people in his team.
Men’s sprinting has become Bolt versus the clock.
And it is much the better for it.